As the month draws to a close, appreciate endings. Completions. What has come full circle, and is now finished? What does it offer to you?
Our lives, our calendars, our cultures are filled with origin stories and also tales about how the world will end, or what comes next, when life ends. Our faith also gives us a guide as to what comes next. For instance, death is not the final state of being: life beyond death is promised to us. And yet, one form of ending is mortal death.
Yet we have many other milestones that represent conclusion. Graduations. Retirements. Anniversaries. We create rituals around the completion of certain experiences, such as childhood, education, and work. They celebrate the past, examine history, and then name the end of this stage of life. They clear the path for what comes next.
Endings may look like punctuation marks. Periods. Question marks. Colons that promise there’s more to come.
We have traditions for saying goodbye. For letting go. For releasing. For mourning. For acknowledging many kinds of endings.
Today, give thanks for endings. — Rev Gail
I glorified you on earth by finishing the work that you gave me to do. — John 17:4
I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ. — Philippians 1:6
But I do not count my life of any value to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the good news of God’s grace. — Acts 20:24
And in this matter I am giving my advice: it is appropriate for you who began last year not only to do something but even to desire to do something—now finish doing it, so that your eagerness may be matched by completing it according to your means. For if the eagerness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has—not according to what one does not have. — 2 Corinthians 8:10-12
We should say in all joyfulness and cheerfulness as we retire to our beds, “I have lived; I have completed now the course that fortune long ago allotted me.” — Virgil
It is easier to live through someone else than to complete yourself. The freedom to lead and plan your own life is frightening if you have never faced it before. ― Betty Friedan
Rushing into action, you fail.
Trying to grasp things, you lose them.
Forcing a project to completion,
you ruin what was almost ripe.
Therefore the Master takes action
by letting things take their course.
He remains as calm at the end
as at the beginning.
He has nothing,
thus has nothing to lose.
What he desires is non-desire;
what he learns is to unlearn.
He simply reminds people
of who they have always been.
He cares about nothing but the Tao.
Thus he can care for all things.
― Lao Tzu