It is finished.
So am I.
Our conference ended with a bang–music, dancing in the aisles, celebrating with people we know and love. It had been a better-than-hoped-for event which most thoroughly enjoyed.
Endings are a mixed bag of tricks. There’s the successful implementation that leads to encouragement for all involved in the venture. Goals reached, the checklist is completed, the conference is considered successful.
But it’s over. Two years of planning, meeting after meeting to determine the theme, artistic components, choosing speakers, working on the set-up. And in a breath, it’s done.
All that’s left are clean-up and goodbyes.
Those who worked on the conference worked long, hard hours. Many of the behind the scenes people missed the meetings because they continued to work on details, making sure everything ran smoothly, that people enjoyed all that had been planned.
I babysat while John and the kids worked at cleaning up, breaking down the venue, preparing for the pieces to be picked up. The littles were done as well. Enough of Kids’ Care. They wanted their folks back.
We’ve developed remarkable relationships with those we’ve worked with. Many we’ve known before, but working under pressure for long stretches draws people together in a bond of sweat and accomplishment that can only happen when everyone is under pressure. Saying goodbye to comrades in arms as these had become was hard.
As tired as we were, leaving held the hope of rest. Cleaning out the apartment was an act of torture as I climbed up one more set of stairs to take one more load of laundry up so we could pack one more box to be shipped home. Some folks fell asleep where they were–no amount of talking around them would wake them.
There’s a weariness in ending, even when it’s done well.
Endings reflect another view of permanence. A good friend of mine was recently diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer and passed away yesterday. A huge blow to her family. There hadn’t been extensive times to process all that has happened, to think through what needed to be said and done–everything happened quickly.
Her end was different. She’s gone somewhere which is more permanent than she’s ever experienced before.
She has the hope and promise of heaven because she knows Jesus.
Death is one of the harder things we confront in life; it’s the reminder of our mortality, our short sojourn here. It’s not the thing we fear most–that would be public speaking. But it’s right up there because so many people are unsure of what happens next.
And there is a next.
We all have a sense of eternity in our souls. Many don’t want to face the consequences of how life has been lived, so believing we simply cease to exist is easier than dealing with the bad choices we’ve made, the wrong roads we took.
But those who know Jesus personally will have no end. They move from this life to be in the presence of God, who will embrace them in love and welcome them home.
It’s a plan that’s been in the works for ages.
Some ends are worth anticipating.