“Every atom in your body came from a star that exploded. And the atoms in your left hand probably came from a different star than your right hand. It really is the most poetic thing I know about physics. You are all stardust.” — Lawrence Krauss
Everything dies. And all things come to an end. But for now, the earth keeps spinning around the sun, that little yellow star in the backwater part of the western arm of our small galaxy. Someday, even the earth, the sun and all the stars of our galaxy will come to an end. But in ending, it will create something else. Every end is found in some beginning somewhere, and every beginning in some end.
As this year comes to a close, I find myself wondering where the time went. This year seemed to go by faster than all the others before it. Was I sleeping it away? Was I worrying it away? I could ask myself the endless kind of questions: was I productive enough? did I accomplish enough? did I become a better person this year? And I could make myself sick by doing it. I am one of those persons with a talent for endless self-reflection/abasement. Fortunately for me and those like me, things do end and close.
To end is not a bad thing. To end badly is a bad thing. To end well is a good thing. Ending in itself is neither good nor bad. So, what does make for a good ending? I think that the more creative, that is, the more creation and creating, that each ending has, the better it is. To take an extreme example, people can either die well or poorly. To die well is to die inspiring love, hope, grace and right relationships to those being left behind. To die poorly is to die embitter, selfish and angry, leaving those left behind confused, bitter, angry and lost. All endings are one way or another.
As New Year’s Day approaches and this year is brought to a close, I want to end well. I want to be grateful for another year of life, filled with its moments of joy, sorrow, pain, laughter and every kind of emotion on the spectrum. It was not the best year; it was not the worst. In many ways, it was both. A good friend once told me that “beauty and pain” go together. I want 2014 to end with an embrace of both. God is in beauty, and God is in pain. I want to have the eyes to see in both situations.
And as I look ahead to the end of 2015, I want to have that I have been grateful. That I have end well, and lived well, and celebrated well all the beauty and all the pain. In all endings, which are both beautiful and painful, may we learn to end well. May we be grateful for the time that we have had. May we be grateful for the love that we’ve received. And may we rejoice and so create new beginnings. May all our thoughts, wishes, prayers, and atoms disperse and fill our world with love and with grace.