Happy New Year!!
I know – I’m a day early for that greeting. But that’s the phrase that you and I have been tossing out to each other for the past week or so. It’s a time of year that is ripe with expectation and promise and hope. We’ve just finished celebrating the Hope of Christmas, the birth of Jesus Christ, and we eagerly anticipate a fresh start.
My husband and I were out and about a few days ago, taking steps toward our upcoming adventure (you can read about that in A Risky Move Part 2), when he looked at me and said, “Why don’t people celebrate the end of the year? Why does no one say ‘Happy End-Of-Year’?”
And that got me thinking.
Why don’t we celebrate our endings as much as we celebrate the beginnings?
In church yesterday, the pastor wished everyone a Happy New Year and reminded us that God is the God of second chances and all things new. My mind began wandering as I internally explored the truth that He is not only the God of beginnings, but the God of endings, too. The Bible tells us God is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the author and finisher of our faith. We cling to the idea of new life and fresh starts, and we should! But ending well is just as beautiful a promise.
We tend to think of endings as negative. The emotions that well up are those of loss and grief and turmoil. 2018 was home to many endings in my life. I quit a job at a church that I had invested in heavily for over ten years. A dear friend’s husband passed away unexpectedly. Our firstborn son had his last “first day of school” as he embarked on his senior year. A team of us started a transitional church, and ended it, too.
But, you know, not all endings are ugly or to be dreaded. Just for a moment, let’s peer into the beauty that can be found in endings.
The end of a day can bring a brilliantly beautiful sunset.
A great book or movie ends leaving you satisfied and content.
Coffee after a spectacular meal is refreshing and settling.
Graduation closes one chapter to start the next.
Endings are portals through which our next can begin to appear.
I’m excited for 2019. Many new things will be a part of my life – some that I know already, some that I don’t. There will be a new country, new responsibilities, new relationships. But in order to fully experience the new, I have to be willing to end well.
How can I end 2018 well? Here are a few things I’ll be spending time on today:
- Reflecting on where I was a year ago and where I am now both physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
- Reviewing my goals (yes! I set goals!) and celebrating the progress made and the setbacks that helped mold me.
- Expressing gratitude to those who have walked a portion of this year’s path with me.
- Refusing to ignore the painful parts of the year, but accepting them and moving on.
- Recognizing that some endings bring joy, while others bring great heartache.
- Ending with gratitude.
In the end, I’m grateful for the opportunities, lessons, struggles, and joys that have been woven together to create my experiences this year.
Ending well creates the ability to begin anew.
May you have a Happy End-Of-Year, and a Happy New Year too!