When You Don't Get Your Ending
Updated: Jan 18, 2021
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This week marks the one year anniversary of a chapter in my life that ended abruptly for me. In one moment a conversation occurred about budgets and part-time roles at work being absorbed into full-time roles, and it resulted in a career change that I was not expecting one bit. I went out and interviewed in the next several months. I received and turned down five job offers, finally realizing that although things came to a conclusion logistically, they most definitely had not come to an end in my heart. Then I heard a woman speak words that represented my feelings exactly.
She said, “maybe you’ve already ended a thing but it went by without acknowledgement and now, you find yourself a little bit stuck with what to do next.”
That was exactly it. I had ended a chapter and moved on so swiftly without ever tying-up-in-a-bow this very important and meaningful season. I share this with you now, rather vulnerably I might add, because my life has been flooded with stories of people who are missing their endings, due to Covid-19 and this quarantine.
High school seniors (and their moms and dads) miss out on the pomp and circumstance of graduation. Sports teams miss their hard-earned play-off opportunity. Musicians miss their chance to let their dozens of rehearsals come together in a beautiful concert.
Back to the speaker I mentioned before. Here are a few ideas she shared, intermingled with some of mine: Name your ending. For some, this is an easy step. “I graduated from college!” For others, it may be less obvious, like “I concluded my first year as a working mom” or “I just wrapped up the toughest ministry year of my career.” By naming it, we bring recognition. Grieve what did not get recognized. Missing out on your (or your child’s) achievement stinks. It really, really does. And I am really sorry for that. It is incredibly healthy to stop life for a moment - or several moments - and cry it out. Share your heart with a friend, talk to God, lament. Acknowledge there still must be an ending. We must put a period on the experience in a life-giving way. There must be a healthy good-bye to that “thing” that just occurred. Celebrate. Perhaps it will simply be the same party at a later date, or maybe it will be much smaller fanfare with a few immediate family members. It even might be a small ceremony by yourself. Either way, your achievement should be celebrated and honored or your heart will feel the effects of loose ends for a good long time. Or - you can do what my college roomie did and order a large blanket with her high school senior’s picture on it and hang it up above the couch. 🤷♀️ Or not. Ha ha. (Love you, Jaymi.) Go through your things. It is healthy and good to look back through tangible items. Look at your medals, the newspaper clippings, the nice card someone wrote you. Look at your pictures and have a moment of conclusion and reflection. Until you do these things it will be quite difficult to move on to the next chapter in your life. Add the period to the end of your sentence. Then when you’re ready, move on to the next thing and know that there is a fresh supply of goodness and grace and good gifts that our heavenly Father is ready to give you. As for me and my missed ending, I made some phone calls last week and I’m looking through photos one final time. And as I look in the rearview mirror that “thing” has gotten a lot smaller and my view ahead looks pretty amazing. With love and grace, Kim
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Watch this video to see what I would do, if I could be by your side right now. And watch this one for no good reason. It just cracks me up. Attribution: Podcast episode 82 in The Next Right Thing.
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