Universal Truth is that no matter what we do or don’t do everything comes to an end, a good bottle of wine, cool weather in Texas, icy streets, the simplicity of childhood, the innocence of America, good times, bad times, even life itself. The question is not that everything ends, but when will it end and how do we handle it?
This week I lost a dear and much-loved friend, the smiling lady on the right, and the tears have flowed. Many of us have drawn together to share memories and happier times—the testament of a life well lived. And she did it well, with joy, a servant heart, a cheerful attitude, and a smile for everyone.
Life for me has come to an end more than once. I’ve discovered it’s usually easier not to know how or when. Life changes, friends move away, loved ones die. The shared memories, the intensity of love and happiness, they can all disappear in an instant, but the world will continue of its way. The daunting task has been to keep on going. The key is to acknowledge what’s over without denying its reality and how important it was. Dr. Seuss says it well, “Don’t cry because it’s over; smile because it happened.” It’s remembering and cherishing the unique memories and the good times you shared with the loved one. It’s remembering what made her special.
I’ve been a daughter, a granddaughter, student, friend, babysitter, wife, lover, mother, carpool driver, Camp Fire Girls leader, teacher, writer, sister, cousin, aunt, secretary, researcher, legal assistant, bookkeeper, and a widow. I’ve been a cook, housekeeper, lawn mower, a wife once more, grandmother, helper, caretaker, a widow again, and a great-grandmother. Most of the phases of my life are finished; and sooner or later, all will draw to a close.
During this journey, I’ve seen good times and bad, happy times and sad. I’ve loved, laughed, and cried, but one thing I never had time for until the last few years was to be fully me. That is, that person deep inside of me, the one who writes the stories that defy universal truths, the one who seeks happy endings. It’s not the finished product that’s important, it’s the writing itself that is liberating. The one place I can be fully myself. It’s a fearsome thing to let loose of what is innermost, but it’s also the grandest relief of all to do so. Most of my scribbling and imaginings go into the trash or shredder, fearful that someone would read them and know that I have finally gone around the proverbial bend!
This is why I write — I’m free to be me, without boundaries, without rules, without restrictions. Nothing has to end unless I will it. Time can move at the speed of light, or it can stand still. The people in my stories can die, and come back to life. They can be twenty or thirty or forty years old forever. They never have to age, or get arthritis, or Alzheimer, or any other malady. Endings—the fairytale conclusion dictates “happily ever after.”
However, the reality is that everything in this world does come to an end. Even in Texas, the hot, muggy summers will in due course die away, and there will be a new beginning. Fall brings cooler air, color-filled trees, renewed energy, and the blessed hope of Christmas. Universal truth is reality, and everything in this world of ours will ultimately end …
Or will it?
Universal Truth was the reality until the Hope of Christmas, Jesus the Christ, defied death and came back to life proving that with every ending, there is a new beginning.
“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth
for the first heaven and the first earth has passed away,
and there was no longer any sea.
I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem,
coming down out of heaven from God,
prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.
“And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,
‘Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them.
They will be his people, and God himself will be with them
and be their God.
He will wipe every tear from their eyes.
There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain,
for the old order of things has passed away.’
“He who was seated on the throne said,
‘I am making everything new!’
Then he said, ‘Write this down,
for these words are trustworthy and true.’
He said to me;
‘It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End.’”
– Rev. 21:1-6
And now for the fairytale ending, the “happily ever after”–
The Beginning …..