The Key to Your Real Life Happy Endings
Don’t you just love happy endings?
When we watch a movie that ends in heartbreak the feelings stay with us for days. Endings affect us—sometimes powerfully. We like neatly tied endings, preferably wrapped in a bow, thank you very much.
But in real life, endings—even happy endings—aren’t always easy.
This time of year brings endings to many of us. A child graduates. Or gets married. A school year comes to a close. Jobs change. People move.
Just when you think you have your routine down to a science, life happens. Life, it seems, is one big lesson in change.
It’s true for the college grad. It’s true for the newlywed. It’s true for the new mom. It’s true for the empty-nester, the retiree, the gal sending her child off to college and the mom sending her youngest off to pre-school.
These transitions (for an ending is really a transition packaged in words like “graduation” or “wedding” or “a move”) mean change. It means we have to adapt to a new way of living and grieve over our old way of living. Endings are happy and hard at the same time. They are rarely exclusively one or the other.
Maybe this is on my mind because I’m living in the middle of a happy ending these days. Our son, Taylor, is getting married in less than two weeks. What’s an ending for us is a beginning for him. We are all happy. Very happy. But it’s also a teeny bit hard. Because life will never be the same.
And we’re OK with that. We’re excited for it, even. But still, it will be a new season. A different season. A change.
It’s happy and it’s hard all rolled into one.
What do we do when we’re faced with new seasons of life? Especially a season that’s ending? Here’s what I’m learning:
First, acknowledge they’re good and right and part of God’s plan.
1For everything there is a season,
a time for every activity under heaven.
2A time to be born and a time to die.
A time to plant and a time to harvest.
3A time to kill and a time to heal.
A time to tear down and a time to build up.
4A time to cry and a time to laugh.
A time to grieve and a time to dance.
5A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
6A time to search and a time to quit searching.
A time to keep and a time to throw away.
7A time to tear and a time to mend.
A time to be quiet and a time to speak.
8A time to love and a time to hate.
A time for war and a time for peace.
Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8
Everything has its season: your life, your routine, your circumstance. No season is permanent. Treasure the good seasons; take heart in the difficult ones. Each has its time.
One day the season will change.
Second, embrace the season you’re in. Just as each season of the year brings its own sense of wonder—Christmas in winter, vivid colored leaves in fall, fragrant blossoms in spring and leisurely beach days in summer—so also does each season of life. Mixing seasons doesn’t work so well. You’d never serve pumpkin pie in June, have a pool party in January or go snowboarding in August. Christmas lights are wonderful in December but are just plain tacky in July. Each season has its own joy meant to be enjoyed in its own time.
Life is like that.
When we savor each season for its own uniqueness instead of trying to make it something it’s not, we look back without regret. We avoid the “could have” “should have” “why didn’t I?” syndrome. We live life in all its unique, beautiful, ever-changing seasons as it was meant to be lived.
Third, realize that endings are simply beginnings in disguise. Beginnings bring new adventures, new challenges and new growth. Beginnings breathe freshness into our lives. Without new beginnings (which always come from endings) life would become dull and stale. Life works best when we look back with thanks for what was and look forward with thanks for what is yet to be.
And maybe, just maybe, these are the keys to real life happy endings.
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More than a Bible teacher, Donna is a self-described Bible explainer. A colorful storyteller who combines Biblical truth with real-life anecdotes, her messages not only help listeners understand God’s Word, but most important, grasp how to live it out in real life.