Sometimes finishing looks like a victory lap or an award of recognition or a moment in the spotlight. We live for those moments, don’t you think? But more often than not, the act of finishing well … finishing anything … looks nothing like that.
“It is finished.”
When Jesus uttered those words, He turned the confines of His humanness loose. And it was ugly, heartbreaking and senseless to the onlookers. But we know that it was just a beginning for us. When Jesus finished His work here on earth we were granted the freedom to enter into an intimate and personal relationship with God.
In my 41 years I’ve managed to finish a mountain of tasks. I’ve finished with relationships, with service opportunities, with various stages of life, with certain attitudes and beliefs and more. And nearly every time I have finished, there is always a new opportunity or idea or relationship waiting to be explored. I’m finding a strong finish is often nothing more than an opportunity for a new beginning. And I’m grateful.
Finishing anything is a mixed bag —
even if it does look like a victory lap or an award of recognition. Because we’re left with a void, a place once filled with purpose, that caused us to be driven and focused, we can quickly begin to feel unnecessary or lack passion and purpose. And when that finish is one you wish you never had to acknowledge, a girl can get pretty down in the dumps awfully quickly. Not that I speak from experience or anything.
Here’s what I’m finding out about finishing …
Sometimes finishing looks like a long goodbye with an aging grandparent or parent.
Or like a pink slip.
Or a secret finally slipping out, threatening to destroy everything you love.
It looks like devastation.
Sometimes finishing looks like a diploma being placed in your hand.
Or like a toddler lisping up at you “I do it myself.”
Or a completed project that took months of planning and execution.
It looks like satisfaction.
Sometimes finishing looks like letting go of my need to control all the things.
Or like a safe place at the end of a long hard day.
Or an answered prayer.
It looks like peace.
Sometimes finishing looks like a young couple saying their “I do’s.”
Or like a brand new squalling baby placed in a mother’s arms for the first time.
Or a clean bill of health.
It looks like joy.
Sometimes finishing looks like a prodigal daughter coming home.
Or like a woman grappling with God for answers and finding, even when she doesn’t like them, God still loves her and He is still good.
Or a whispered “I love you” in the heat of a fight.
It looks like hope.
In the middle of my charmed little life, I’ve had some endings that left me full of hope and joy for sure, but I’ve known the moments when it seemed like I was left with nothing but a pile of stone cold ashes. I’ve been swallowed up by a bone-chilling coldness of finality and grief that even the humid Southern summers of Georgia couldn’t ward off.
But Jesus is patient with me. He carries me through each beginning and each ending and through all of the middles, too. He knows what a mixed bag finishing can be. And He’s not finished with me.
“Although I am far too frequently convinced otherwise, with God a dead-end is only the death of an end.” ~ Craig D Lounsbrough