The Paradox Of Endings and New Beginnings

new beginnings

This week I celebrated my second daughter’s graduation from high school. She’s worked hard over these last four years and is ready for new beginnings when she heads to college in August. I’m both proud and happy for her.

The thing about new beginnings though is that they require something else to end.

In many ways, this ending is what her dad and I have been preparing for these last 18 years. Like many endings we face in life, this one is bittersweet. I must allow for two things to be present: the sadness associated with ending a time I loved raising her in our home and the celebration of her evolvement and success.

I know it’s time for new chapters — both hers and my own. And once again I am being called to answer the question, what do I want now? What do I want in this next chapter? Maybe you’re feeling called to answer the same question.

Fortunately, summertime has arrived. For me, summer has always been a time to slow down, reset, reflect, find joy in little adventures, and even experience a bucket list moment. This summer I’m going to enjoy one of those by traveling with my 79-year-old mother and two daughters to view the art and history of Italy.

While planning our visit, my oldest daughter, who is already studying abroad, reminded me to leave time for the unplanned. “Mom, don’t plan it all,” she said, as I asked her thoughts on the tours I’d scheduled. “It’s fun to just walk around and explore.” Ah. I knew she was right. I was grateful for the reminder.

A part of me is always seeking the simple, more serene life while another part tends to want to move quickly, and efficiently, preparing to get the next thing accomplished so I will be ‘prepared’ to enjoy the future. But as I was reminded by my daughter who will be leaving in just a couple of months, the moment I’ve been preparing for — and always am — is now.

A long time ago I learned to relax into whatever’s happening. Struggling against reality is exhausting and with profoundly disappointing results. Sometimes this is easier for me to do than others.

As I come off the high of the graduation celebration this weekend, I am not certain exactly of how the new puzzle pieces will fit together. But I do know what I want for sure this summer.

I want to slow down. I want more simplicity — more serenity, more presence. To me, that means more long walks. More deep talks. I want to take in every moment I have with my daughter before she leaves. This summer I vow to enjoy more of the things I did as a kid — dipping my toes in the ocean, cannonballing into a pool, sitting in silence in the early morning hours as the sun rises, eating a DQ with the car windows down and singing along to country music I love.

Sometimes it takes time for our hearts to accept what our mind already knows. Whatever ending you’re facing, give yourself grace and give yourself time.

Endings and goodbyes can be hard, but they do clear the way for a fresh start and for something more when we are ready.

We don’t know what is on the other side yet, but just like all of the other endings in my life, there was something equally beautiful — or better — on the other side.

Here’s to living in the paradox of endings and new beginnings. And leaving room for the unplanned while leaping into what calls you next and those places you’ve never been yet.

If you’re like me and feeling called to slow it down this summer, I offer you this poem, Slow Me Down, Lord, by Wilferd A. Peterson, to use as your daily reminder.


Slow me down, Lord.

Ease the pounding of my heart by quieting my mind.

Steady my hurried pace with a vision of the eternal reach of time.

Give me, amid the confusion of the day, the calmness of the everlasting hills.

Break the tension of my nerves and muscles with the soothing music of the singing streams that live in my memory.

Help me to know the magical, restoring power of my sleep.

Teach me the art of taking “minute vacations” of slowing down to look at a flower, to chat with a friend, to pat a dog, to read a few lines from a great book.

Slow me down. Lord, and inspire me to send my roots deep in the soil of life’s enduring values, that I may grow toward the stars of my greater destiny.

~ Wilferd A. Peterson


Cheers to summer,


0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *