I’ve been thinking about beginnings and endings this week. I’m not sure if it’s the end of my summer courses and the eminent beginning of the fall semester, or if it’s the very vivid picture of beginnings and endings that our church community experienced in the past week with a wedding, a double baptism, and a funeral in the space of three days, but, beginnings and endings are on my mind.
Both can be much-anticipated. I am looking forward to the beginning of new classes this fall, I’m sure that K and M were looking forward to their wedding, and E and M anticipated, with joy, the baptism of their twins. Yesterday, I was really looking forward to the end of my Greek classes. Some folks come to a point in their lives where they really look forward to the end of their time here on this earth. My grandmother was like that at the end of her life. I’m nowhere near there.
I think for both, there can be a sense of loss when these boundaries are passed. The thing begun never seems to be as awesome as it was when it was merely a thing conjured in our minds. Things that are ended, no matter how arduous, seem to leave a hole when they are gone, a space needing to be grieved for a while. We certainly grieve the loss of those we love, even when we are assured their pain is over and they are now in a better place, a place that we wished for them to be. Grief is tied to beginnings and endings.
So… maybe all the things that happened this week, have left me in a place of grief. That is certainly true of the funeral. The wedding and baptisms are not really my beginnings, but, they do remind me of the passage of time. Even the end of Greek is a source of loss. I will no longer spend Thursday mornings with D, my professor, discussing a lot more than Greek participles, verbs, and conjunctions. I looked forward to the end, but, am sorry to see it come.
The end of a matter is better than its beginning,
and patience is better than pride. Ecclesiastes 7:8