I snapped a shot of the sun as it neared the horizon yesterday. It seemed like the right thing to do. It was December 31st, 2019…the end of a day, a month and a year, the end of a decade, and the end of a season of lots of transitions in our family. Endings can remind us that time is indeed a-passing…and to be mindful of how we use it for sure. The sun seemed to stand still with its yellow glow… and it was obvious it wouldn’t be long before the sun went down.
So, I hurried down the road, walked in the door and asked my son who is home for just a few more days if he wanted to go for a walk. ( I love that he always says “Yes” when I ask, but he did say he’d love some coffee first <3). So, we ran by a coffee shop, got our cups to go, and went for a quick walk as the yellow sky turned gray, then dark. We continued talking and then went for a drive. (Note to Self: mo matter the season, the time of day or year, there are some things that are always in season. Spending time with folks you love, talking through stuff, laughing, and turning up the music and driving, yeah, that’s always in season.)
We hadn’t eaten and decided to treat ourselves to dinner out and went to one of our favorite restaurants. Had a sweet time, ate some good food, and even saw a friend and and her family there as well as some of my students. (Oh, and about the good food? Well, ,it wasn’t pretty. Chase has been on a venture to try new foods..and this time he got the tilapia fried whole. Nope, it’s not pretty to see a whole fish who looks like he sees you, but Chase enjoyed it!) Anyway, it was a sweet dinner.
We were sitting by the window and the sunlit sky that had turned dark now turned red with flashing lights. I will forego the details of the next 30 or so minutes, but the sad truth is that a man who had just been eating in the restaurant had collapsed on the sidewalk. Heart attack. Paramedics tried valiantly to revive him, but even after 30 minutes, the man passed. We didn’t realize it then, but the man was the dad of my daughter’s friend… He had just walked his daughter down the aisle at her wedding a month ago.
Some endings sure feel a lot heavier than others. This one felt heavy heavy heavy and grew heavier as I realized later on that this man was the beloved dad who I had heard so much about years ago. He never would’ve guessed that he’d watch the end of the day of December 31st, 2019, but never wake to see January 1, 2020. We can anticipate some endings. Sunsets. Seasons. But some seasons, well we have no idea when they will end. That sure is a good reason to make the most of the moments we have.
Some of us get to run this race for a long time…8, 9, even 10 decades. And some of us will run much shorter legs of the race. Most of us just have no idea how long the race will be. I love the verse that talks about running well.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”
Hebrews 12: 1-3
“Running well” the race marked out for us… The God who created us, knows the paths that we should take. Am thinking that’s why there’s the admonition to “fix our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer (author) and perfecter of faith…” Perspective grants joy to see beyond the seasons that might not be what we would choose.
I know the man who passed last night would’ve not chosen his ending to be as such. But I love that even in the worst of tragedies, the darkest of nights, there is hope, and often residual effects that produce so much growth and beauty in others. I’m thankful that even death does not have to be an ending.
Chase and I had even talked about that on our drive…he was frustrated about the religious discussion of heaven and hell. The older I get, the more simply I seem to see some things. And for me, it’s merely life with God, or life without. We get to choose. It’s not about good lives or good choices or terrible lives. It’s about grace that is given as a gift, but the gift has to be received. ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, All are given access to receive the gift of salvation. I’m thankful that endings don’t have to be endings when we choose to receive that gift.
Yes, endings, endings give way to beginnings.
Yes, endings give way to beginnings, and this morning as I woke, I realized what an incredible gift it was to have this new morning, for I was so aware that there were those who didn’t live to see it this morning. So, I snapped a shot of the sunrise this morning… it seemed like the thing to do…. January 1, 2020…the beginning of a morning, a day, a month, the beginning of a year, a decade. Old gives way to new. Yes, endings give way to beginnings. Thankful for that.
I’m also thankful for some things that are always new and always give hope for a new beginning. Here’s a great verse (Lamentations 3:22-23): “The steadfast love of the Lord never (NEVER) ceases. His mercies never (NEVER) come to an end. They are new every (EVERY) morning. Great is thy faithfulness.” He’s in the process of redemption…bringing new out of what is old, and making beginnings out of endings. All He asks is that we bring it to Him. Yep, so very thankful for that.