One year ago, I was saying good-bye to the people with whom I had prayed, laughed, cried, grieved, grown, learned, eaten, worshiped, meetinged, retreated, camped, sang, holidayed, and worked for seven years. Seven years is a long time in ministry. New babies were born who were in elementary school by the time I left. Young children had entered the youth program. Those who started the youth program with me had moved onto college. Relationships changed as some people met and fell in love. Some people married and some people divorced. Some people who loved the church died and we grieved together and we remember them. Wonderful new people joined the church in those seven years. And some people left too. So much happened in those seven years.
Today, I’m preparing for a beginning. Starting on October 1, I will be the Director of Cooperative Youth Ministry at Christ Congregational Church (UCC) and Takoma Park Presbyterian Church (PCUSA). I’m looking forward to this new opportunity and the many possibilities ahead. I’m excited to focus my energy on youth! I’m ready to plan mission trips, Sunday night gatherings, retreats, and so much more.
Whenever I think of endings and beginning this quote from Hope Floats also comes to mind. “Beginnings are scary, endings are usually sad, but it’s the middle that counts the most. Try to remember that when you find yourself at a new beginning. Just give hope a chance to float up. And it will, too…”
I know that most of life is the ordinary or in between time, and yet today I’m thinking about how both endings and beginnings are an important part of our journey too.
Let us pray-
God of beginnings, endings, and all the times in between, I wonder what you were thinking as you created all that we know. Beginning are scary and exciting because a big blank space of possibility is before us. In moments of beginning, remind us we are your beloved and even if we fail you love us still.
Faithful God, Endings are hard. It hurts to say good-bye to those we love. We grieve endings. Let us grieve, Loving God, for some endings are forever and others were necessary. In moments of ending, remind us we are your beloved and even as our hearts break you love us still.
Eternal God, Much of our lives are the times in between-going to school or work or having nowhere to go, wondering what to eat for our next meal, paying bills, doing homework…In the midst of the ordinary, open our eyes to the extraordinary gift of life. Let us hear laughter and stories. Let us see smiles and tears. Let us smell bread breaking and flowers blooming. Let us taste foods that delight us. Let us feel love from you and all those we love. In the times between, remind us we are your beloved and everyday has the possibility of beginnings, endings, and ordinary times. Amen.
Ending and Beginning
In this unique and powerful moment, I know there is truly only one underlying, overriding intelligence, wisdom, power, and presence that is all around me. It is my Higher Power, the Highest Power. It penetrates, permeates, and courses through each and all of us at all times.
I breathe in and receive this power, knowing I am one with that which I sometimes call Spirit, Mother Nature, God, Divinity, The One, or sometimes call it nothing at all. I sense It, and know that It operates within me, and I operate within It.
With deep appreciation I look back and reflect on this precious month, and in fact this entire calendar year which is nearing conclusion. I know that every ending has within it a new beginning, a fresh new start, a bubbling sense of pure potentiality. I carry forward with me all that still serves me and others, and I gently release and set down that which does not. I cast a kind glance at the past year, over all that I loved, and all those things that rattled me.
I embrace the future with bold anticipation, courage, and great expectancy for my good.
I am grateful to know that I am at choice, and I am grateful to know that I can choose sobriety, serenity, and freedom from addictive substances and behaviors. I am thankful for my friends, family, and experiences that continue to serve as my teachers. I am grateful for all I have learned in my spiritual programs, and grateful for all I have yet to learn.
I breathe in and wrap my arms around this month and this year as it draws to a close, and in my next breath, I open my arms wide to welcome the next phase which is already filled with love, light, and limitless possibility. I am strong, I am open, and I receive all the gifts life has to offer including health, joy, abundance, and love.
I release these words to the Law with a deep knowing that they are true, that all is well, and that life is very, very good.
And so it is.
In gratitude, harmony and support,
In every end, there is also a beginning.
What’s one of the best times for figuring out who you are and what you truly want?
Right after a chapter of your life comes to an end.
And every chapter in life has to come to an end sometime. It’s important to acknowledge and accept this – to walk away and carry onward sensibly when something has reached its conclusion.
Closing the door, turning the page, moving on, etc. It doesn’t matter what you call it – what matters is that you leave the past where it belongs so you can make the best of the life that’s still available to be lived. This ending you’ve experienced is not THE END, it’s just your life beginning again in a new way. It’s a point in your story where one chapter transitions into the next.
Here are 10 quotes from our book and blog archive to help you start this new chapter with strength, conviction, and a mindful presence…
- When life does not go as planned, breathe and remember that life’s richness often comes from its unpredictability.
- Sometimes you just have to accept the fact that things will never go back to how they used to be, and that this ending is really a new beginning.
- One of the most peaceful mindsets ever begins the moment you finally find the courage to let go of what you can’t change. It is what it is. Accept it, learn from it and move on. It doesn’t matter what you’ve done; what matters is what you choose to do from here. (Read Loving What Is.)
- The secret to getting ahead is to focus your energy not on fixing and fighting yesterday, but on building and growing something new right now.
- Even if you have a good reason to be angry and resentful about what happened, don’t. Channel your energy into thoughts and actions that actually benefit your life today. (Angel and I discuss this in more detail in the “Adversity” chapter of 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.)
- Your world can be an entirely different place than the world you lived in just a few moments ago, once your attitude toward it changes.
- The situation does not determine your response. YOU determine your response. Take a moment now to pause and remember who you truly are. Take time to reflect on the things that have real and lasting meaning in your life.
- Life doesn’t owe you anything else, because you already have everything you need. But you do owe yourself the courtesy of making the best of it.
- Don’t procrastinate. Don’t waste your time wishing for a “better” starting point. Instead, make use of the real and present starting point you have, and get going. (Angel and I build proven, “procrastination-busting” rituals with our students in the “Goals and Growth” module of Getting Back to Happy.)
- Be humble. Be teachable. The world is bigger than your view of the world. There’s always room for a new idea, a new step… a new beginning.
The secret to a good life, I have found, is to pay more attention to the beginnings than the endings. So many people say they want a new life, but then they take the new one they get every minute for granted. Don’t do this to yourself. Don’t hold on to what’s no longer there. Don’t wait until your life is almost over to realize how priceless the present moment is. The good life is here – it begins right now, when you stop wanting a different one.
And remember, there are three little words that can release you from your past struggles and guide you forward. These words are: “From now on…”
Please leave a comment below and let us know which quote above resonates with you the most. Do you have any other quotes, tips or stories to share about turning an ending into a new beginning? We would love to hear from YOU.
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Photo by: Rose Erkul