The end is a beginning but it is not always an easy thing to face.  Endings often bring confusion, sadness and pain.  They symbolize loss and disorientation.

Anne Lamott says that her two favorite prayers are “Help me” and “thank you.”  I like that but sometimes I feel like my life gets stuck between those prayers.  When this happens I think it would be great if I could get some sort of heavenly voicemail telling me what to do next.  This reality seems even more so during endings and beginnings.

When our oldest was born, we were thrilled.  We had struggled through a miscarriage.  We had tried to get pregnant for a couple of years.  When word came that we were going to have a boy we named him, Nathaniel, gift of God.

The first three nights after his birth were great.  We had a private room in the hospital and every time he cried a nice nurse came in and took him away so we could rest.  We took him home on the fourth day.  That night he started crying at 11:00 p.m. and was still going strong at 2:00 a.m.  I called the hospital.  I got the nice nurse on the phone.  I told her he was crying and would not stop.  She said, “Mr. Miles, babies cry.  Good night.”  Click.  I no longer think of her as the nice nurse.  It was a new beginning but it was also an ending.  

We had longed for this child but we did not realize all of the changes that would come into our lives like the loss of intimacy, a shortage of money and a host of other changes. 

A man, an atheist, visited a pastor.  He asked, “I want to believe in God, I want to find God. How do I do this?” The pastor said, “You can’t find God but God will find you.” The man left disappointed.  He wanted answers to his tough questions. 

Three years later the same man came back to the pastor.  He said, “Pastor, I’m dying.  When word of my disease and death came I decided to reunite with my family.  I had not spoken with them for years.  I went to my mother, to my father, to my brother to simply say ‘I love you.’  Pastor, when I found the courage to say those words, God found me.”

The end is a beginning in which nothing is clear, except for this: the work which God has given us to do will one day, finally, be completed by the mercy and grace of our Lord.

Grace and peace to you,