Everything ends…

that’s just the way of things. A human life is marked by a series of endings as one chapter moves towards another. And, of course, at the end, is the end as we understand it.

Of course, when things are painful we hope we move quickly towards the end. No sane person desires endless pain and suffering. In our misery we cry out to God “When will this end?” Our question is reaction to our discomfort, our boredom, our suffering, and the sense that in it all time has stood still and we are without escape.

It’s the opposite when things are good and right. It is then we say “I hope this moment never ends.” It’s at that point where we would like to hold everything as it is and in place so that the peace, joy, and happiness we’re feeling would never cease to be. When it does come to a conclusion, as all things must, we are filled with a kind of melancholy for what might have been had that good moment in time not faded away.

Both of these things, I think, become more intense as we age because we realize as time passes that the opportunities to bounce back after a hard time or hold on to a pleasant time are increasingly limited as the actual span of our lives decreases. It is not very long into a human lifespan before we realize there is more behind than ahead and the time that remains is moving quickly. Sometimes that makes the painful times more intense and the leaving of precious moments more heartbreaking.

I think that this is perhaps the greatest gift of heaven because all that is hard and difficult in this life, even the things we brought on ourselves, ends as it is extinguished in the presence of Love itself. All that is good remains and enriched by that same Love. And until that day when heaven becomes real for us I think the only way to endure a life of endings is to live already, as it were, in heaven, to live eternally in the middle of time. If the endings still touch us, as they will, at least we have the knowledge that there is so much more than any moment in time, there is a forever and a timelessness that can give perspective and rest to those who understand and embrace it.

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