Unfinished endings. New beginnings. Sometimes it feels like you put ridiculous amounts of effort and energy into sustaining a happy existence and then bits and pieces of it die off without your permission. Change doesn’t always get your consent.
A few months ago, I went rummaging through my garage to find some long lost items and came face to face with things I hadn’t seen for over 20 years. The whole act of opening up the past, including pictures, cards and mementos from those I’d lost, filled me with enormous sadness. I was pulled back into a life that felt so comfortable and sweet and it cracked me wide open as I touched the pieces of my history. I couldn’t shake the emptiness that arose, like a large chunk of my life was over and done.
I heard words come out of my mouth that stopped me in my tracks. “I’m getting tired of endings.” Tired of endings? How can that be?! There have to be endings in order for there to be new beginnings!
Faced with a mountain of memories staring at me, I suddenly felt like I wanted to catch the past by the tail and yank it back! Time had been hidden and was quietly plugging away but now it was front and center and shouting. Who the heck did it think it was to steal parts of my life and eventually run out?
When did all of this happen? When did the tomorrows become yesterdays in the blink of an eye? When did the vast body of the ocean become smaller?
Grief-stricken, I spent three days in turmoil, feeling like a caged animal trying to escape. I prayed, I wrote and I walked for miles and miles, trying to outpace the uncomfortable feelings, but there they were, right beside me. As much as I reasoned that my present life was a happy one, I couldn’t shake the despair. I cried like a child losing her cherished teddy bear.
Everyone of us feels we have today, tomorrow, next week, next month, next year. There’s an open field of time ahead to get it all done, but one day you'll turn around and be caught off guard by the miles of road behind you. Wow. It fills you up with incredible appreciation, heartache and hopefulness all at the same time.
Nothing stays the same. There’s no way of getting around the fact that there’ll be a last time for everything; a last kiss on the dimpled little hand of your growing child; a last hug from your aging mother; a last day before your son leaves home; a last beautiful sunset. That’s just the way it is. As with every breath you inhale, you have to exhale. Hold, release.
I think of it like the lovely tradition of Amish Friendship Bread. With every loaf you bake for a friend, you give a bit of the starter dough for them to use for their batch. They, in turn, make their own bread from your starter and pass the same along to the next set of friends.
Maybe the parts of our lives are like that. The lessons and pieces of the past become the starter for the next batch of memories and lessons. The beautiful entanglement of past and present gives birth to a new story and a vantage point to jump from. Nothing is ever really lost. The “starter” is always part of the continuing story.
Three days after my confrontation with endings, I started to feel more like myself. I’d sat in the holy ashes of my history and said goodbye. Time seemed friendly again.
My path has been filled with happiness, purpose and meaning, so the march of time isn’t something that scares me, but it is something I choose to value more. It’s my constant walking companion and whether I consent or not, it’ll run out someday.
We all have to learn to be okay with that. The only way it becomes our enemy is when we’re not using it well.
Memories are sacred energies that escort us lovingly forward. We don’t have to look back and try to hold on to them or try to erase them. The ups, downs, pain, pleasure, messes and perfection remain a part of who we are forever.
Make peace with what you leave behind and bless the truly amazing person it’s made you. Appreciate the people and lessons you’ve been given and walk boldly into your future with love, gratitude and a new intention.
You’re right where you’re supposed to be.
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