end. a final part of something, especially a period of time, an activity, or a story. the furthest or most extreme part of something, limit. the conclusion, the resolution. to come or bring to a final point. to finish.
with graduating college, moving, leaving the community I’ve come to love, and concluding my role as a student (as least for now), the word end has taken on a whole new meaning and taken over my life.
honestly, I hate the connotation of finality this word brings, and wrestled to let go and allow the endings to happen. which of course means I had to find the right music to carry me through it all.
while you’re doing fine
there’s some people and I
who have a really tough time
getting through this life
so excuse us while we sing to the sky
screen | twenty one pilots
for the last month of school straight, I refused to listen to pretty much anything other than twenty one pilots. it was a nonstop cycle filtering through my headphones with every last trip to the gym (admittedly few and far between), night walk around the lake, time spent studying in the library (turns out after almost four years of avoiding it, it really is a productive place to work), breakdown under the twinkling lights in my hall, and moment spent writing out cards for the last round of sentiments to many friends through campus mail (sorry friends who work there, I discovered I know too many people).
it was like nothing else settled into my veins quite right. nothing else could be the perfect soundtrack voicing dark fears and insecurities, while pairing it with undertones of hope that hold true. adding in the camera roll of vivid memories associated with this music, of camp dining halls, dance parties, summer car rides, chapels, freshman year discoveries, and concerts, it was perfect and just the right amount of sentiment.
in particular, the lyrics above perfectly described my mounting feelings as graduation crept closer. so many people were excited to get out of this place, to grow somewhere new. but I was so over losing things that I held near to me. I grew more sad and desperate to hold on to each fading moment.
and I think that’s important to recognize, that with each ending, everyone reacts differently. and that is more than okay. some of us embracing the change, others singing/praying/ranting/venting to the sky with a sense of urgency and heartache.
and of course I fell in the latter category, facing the endings with these songs.
endings have never been my strong suit. I was the kid that cried her eyes out during cinnamon roll saturdays at camp. that felt the bittersweet ache of movie endings (hello, La La Land) for weeks.
the girl who felt everything deeply & was sentimental beyond belief. so it makes sense that I’d been dreading this one with everything in me.
the first days of senior year I cried over nowhere, even this special place feeling like home, everything uncertain. my final night on campus, I cried because this place feels like home and always will. leaving here feels like leaving part of my heart behind. a community I’ve been challenged & supported by. one I’ve had the joy of being part of & investing in. but especially in this senior year, I have discovered just how great it is & much it means.
I honestly would not have made it through this past year without the community around me (which is another story for another time). grateful for all the stories I’ve seen unfold & all God is continuing to do in them. and while it hurts to leave, I am thankful for friendships that make this ending so rough. because my life has been better for it. and this ending reminds me of that so intensely.
up until those final rough moments where I cried more tears than I have in a quite a while, and beyond, I’ve been learning a lot about endings through all the ones I’ve been experiencing. about the ways that endings reveal some of the most important things in our stories.
“Before we move too quickly to hope, it’s important to grieve the losses, to handle them, face them, and let disappointment do its deep work.We like to talk about celebrating the gifts, but facing the losses might be important, too. Not to wallow, but to keep company with them long enough to recognize what part they play in our story, to name them, and eventually release them in the presence of Christ.”
endings are incredibly bittersweet. they are reminders of the best parts of life and the ways we haven’t quite yet arrived. concert endings are some of the worst. the second you leave, you feel hit with a gut wave of nostalgia. yet the finale often contains some of the most powerful moments of the night. switchfoot ends their sets with where I belong, an anthem oh-so-fitting. we are grateful for this moment, right here on the planet. but we know this isn’t all we were made for.
these words resonate so deeply as my heart is learning how to do this in the grief of the past 15 months without my mom, in the ending of an incredible four years in college, and throughout all of life.
I hate the tension and tend to rush into hope and all silver linings instead of facing emotions but it is so important to recognize that grief & losses have so much to do in our story, revealing who we are & more of who Christ is in the most painful yet deep of ways.
and it makes us that much more excited about forever, where we won’t endure them anymore. this is SO hard, but SO important & I hope to keep learning how to do this.
maybe we’re not supposed to rush the endings. to force feelings that shouldn’t yet be there. some things are meant to be processed. no matter how uncomfortable.
I’ve been learning that endings remind me we were made for forever.
like I mentioned earlier with La La Land, the bittersweet ache that comes with certain movie endings, always gets me. the soundtrack with the sweeping epilogue of what could have been. yet the end and finality of what was.
that contrast is not lost on me. and I think it is tied to the fact that, deep down, we never want the stories to end. not just with these characters, these storylines that we’ve grown to love. but with our lives, our real stories. because all these small stories play a part in a far greater one. and we know those connections exist, we know there should be something beyond the endings.
I’ve been learning through endings to :
keep growing. endings help us give way from what we so tightly held to, in order to stay open to what comes next.
treasure time with people, to keep track of the memories.
remember that sometimes we set our hopes too hard on things. forgetting that they don’t hold all our hope’s fulfillments. sometimes things end to push us towards better things. sometimes those better things are muddled but the only clarity is the presence of Jesus. God with us, Emmanuel.
trust that our ending is secure in Him. It is finished. we have forever. and that is ultimately the conclusion that all ends drive us to. the longing for that forever, and the hope of home, where we belong.
it is possible to mourn the endings while rejoicing in all that has happened in these days. and this is the place I want to reside in.
so tonight, the tears come as I remember that time. the endings will sting for quite some time. because no matter how much you think you’ve got that whole change thing handled, one transition or departure or goodbye will suddenly shift that. but endings are also terribly beautiful. and I am grateful for such a good one.
here’s to the endings, to living through them, to letting them do their work. to opening yourself up to the bitter in order to find the sweet.
here’s to the day when there will be no more endings.