There will be a last time.  A last time for everything.

There will be a last time that she kisses with you the passion, abondon, and innocence of youth.

There will be a last time that your children come running, arms wide open, to be swung around and cuddled.

There will be a last time they get that burger just exactly right.

There will be a last time that your best friend calls.

I’m holding onto the hope that all these sentences are qualified.  The thing that keeps me going is the idea that we can add “in this life.” to those sentences; on the other side of the grave, there will be some equivalent to the passionate kiss of adolescence, to the best friend calling, and even to them getting the burger just exactly right.

And it’s true that there will be a last time for all the things that are so hard:

There will be a last physical therapy appointment; you will walk out of the doors on the road to healing.

There will be a last fight.

There will be a last doseage of that terrible medicine whose side effects are only barely more manageable than whatever it is that you are treating.

Like so many people, there are times in my life when the good out weighs the bad.  I wish so much I could go back to those times.

I’m feeling kind of flabbergasted right now by the way I didn’t hold on to those times and cherish them.   It’s not that I don’t have good things in my life now.  It’s just that there are some things that I think are gone.  Forever.  And I never thought they would leave.

I guess I’m posting this as a pity party for myself, but I also want to say to you, as you read this: hold on to those things.  Hold tight and hold fast.  Take nothing for granted.  We can’t make them last forever but maybe we can get just a little bit longer.  Because it’s a pretty sad place to be, on the other side of it all, wondering if things might have ended up different.


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The stories that speak to our soul begin at a home where things are good. Cinderella is happy with her father. The three little pigs have grown up and are ready to move on. Bilbo Baggins knows his shire. Adam and Eve walk with God in the garden. My story isn’t much different. There was a time and a place where it was so good. There was a community for me. And there was joy. We were filled with a sincere desire to do what God wanted us to do. We possessed explanations and understandings that went a certain distance. We offered security and tradition and laughter. For a lot of years, that was enough. I have this sense that it was also necessary. I have this surety, now, that it certainly wasn’t everything. There were some things that became increasingly problematic as time went by. There was a desire to package things up so very neatly. Sunday morning services were efficient and strategic. Responses to differences of opinion were premeditated. Formula began to feel more important than being real. A real desire for everybody to be one of us, but also a real sense that there is an us, and there is a them. They carried a regret that it has to be this way, but deeper than this regret was a surety that this is how it is. I began to recognize that there was a cost of admission to that group. There were people who sat at the door, collecting it. Those people wished they didn’t have to. But I guess they felt like they did have to. They let some people in, and they left others out. There was a provisional membership. My friends did possess a desire to accommodate people that are different… But it would be best for everyone concerned if they were only a little bit different. I did make many steps forward in this place. Before I went there, there were lies that I believed. Some of the things that I learned there, I still hold on to. But that place is not my home anymore. Those people are not my community anymore. There were times it was hard. I am engaged in a different community now. And I am working hard at finding a place in many different places now, embracing many different kind of families. I don’t always get it right. I am trying and I am learning and I am moving foreward. I have this sense that I am not alone in these experiences. I believe that we are tribe and we are growing. We are pilgrims, looking for a new holy land. Perhaps we won’t settle on the same spot of land. But if you’ve read this far, I am thinking that we are probably headed in the same general direction. I have begun this blog to talk about where my journey is taking me. In every space, we find people who help us along. And maybe we can get to know each other, here. We embrace ideas that provide a structure for the things we believe, and perhaps we can share these too. Maybe we can form a group, a tribe, a community, if we can figure out a way to work through the shadow of these kinds of groups, if we can bigger than the us-and-them ideas that have caused so much trouble in the past. As important as they are, I think the very nature of online interactions will lend itself to something equally powerful. I am stumbling onto these practices that my grandfathers and great grandfathers in the faith engaged in. I am learning about these attitudes and intuitions are so different than the kinds of things we call doctrine today. I don’t know about you, but I am running out of patience, and even interest, in conversations about doctrine. I hope that maybe you’ll share a little something about where your journey is taking you, and maybe our common joys and challenges might help each other along, and we might lift each other up. Thanks for doing this journey with me.

3 thoughts on “Endings”

  1. My Dad died in 2005 at the age of 64. The anguish I experienced at his passing was not surprisingly that the end of seeing each other had come, it was the awareness of the incredible amount of regret he departed with. I won’t go into all the details but as irony so often does it helped me adopt a healthy appreciation for what is. I would have rather learned that lesson another way.


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