26 to 26: This is not the end.

I’m already a day behind on this. Figures. Such is my life. Always one step behind.

I’m fast approaching my 26th birthday—25 days out to be exact.

I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with November 29th. I love it because cake is my favorite food. I hate it because I can feel the minutes, years slipping away, ticking by so quickly this cold, dark month of fading fall. Every hour, closer to the wrecking day when my age expands another notch larger.

Birthdays, for me as a critical-cynical-pessimistic-realist, are really more about looking back than they are about looking forward.

Sometimes this looking back is a time of seeing God’s hand at work. Sometimes everything seems bright and clear, beaming with life and promise. Sometimes everything feels beautiful and right. And then again, sometimes not.

Sometimes, times like now, things seem dark and unfamiliar and downright terrifying. Sometimes it seems like the dawn isn’t breaking, the dark isn’t fleeing, the spring isn’t coming, the fear isn’t ebbing.

Sometimes, it feels like the end. Of something. Of nothing.

Of so much yet so little that I can’t fight to tie it down, pull its mask off, and finally see what it is. The mystery haunts me.

It’s days, months, years like this the need a little hope. Sometimes we can only see that hope when we gaze back, even if it is into utter darkness.

Because this is not the end.

Some friends and I made the trek to Quincy to see Gungor perform last Friday. Miranda always used to say that their music made her too emotional. For the first time, on Friday, I understood it. As they sang, I mumbled along and felt as if I needed this. I needed to believe it.

This is not the end, this is not the end of this.

Eyes are opening wide. Lungs are breathing in. Chapters are closing. Pages are turning but it isn’t over. Whatever it is, it isn’t over.

And even if it was, even if this was it, it would have been enough.

“Better is the end of a thing than its beginning, and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit. Be not quick in your spirit to become angry, for anger lodges in the heart of fools. Say not, ‘Why were the former days better than these?’ For it is not from wisdom that you ask this. Wisdom is good with an inheritance, an advantage to those who see the sun. For the protection of wisdom is like the protection of money, and the advantage of knowledge is that wisdom preserves the life of him who has it. Consider the work of God: who can make straight what he has made crooked?” –Ecclesiastes 7:8-13, ESV

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