Jan 5, 2016
Amazon Fire TV has this great ad right now, talking about the end of a TV series and how it throws us in chaos and disillusionment. They deem it the #Showhole. Its a silly little ad, to be sure, but truth seems to lurk in silliness, as any smirking child can tell you. What is hiding in the shadows there is the truth that endings are hard. Most endings are more difficult to stomach than a TV show ending (sorry to offend you diehard fans out there). Most endings deal with the end of a relationship, the finality of life, moving away, a job loss or restructure. To be sure, all of these are about a change in relationship, the core of what drives us. And we don't take it well, we kick and scream toward the exit, as if all that complaint might make it less true. It does not.
As I mentioned in Fever Pitch, we most often only get to understand life in reverse, even if we experience it in fast forward. If only we got to see the purpose in the endings ahead of time, I imagine we might fight it a bit less. If we could just sense that there was also BEGINNING in the end, we could stare it down and see it for what it is, rather than what we fear. But that one little word is what catches us...fear. We fear what it is that we do not know. And we don't know what the ending will bring. I recently heard a client say that she did not know how life was going to be without her father and it terrified her. But it terrified her for all of the unknowns in the future that she could see and some she could not. Fear — honest and heartfelt, but still there, and intensely burning. And fear is not what we were built for, but man, can it hold a grip. It has been said that perfect love can drive out all fear. What would that look like in terms of an ending?
My best guess is this — gratitude. As we stare at the deep chasm that is about to open up in front of us, the ending of a kind of relationship, with the recognition that we see most clearly in the rear-view mirror, could we begin to face that end with the grace that gratitude offers? Could we see all that has gone before and thank the other for their impact on our lives? Could we strive to see the best parts of the relationship, while acknowledging that it was not perfect? Or will we tighten our grasp, dig in our heels and demand that things continue just as they were? The first offers the possibility of peace, imperfect as it might look. The second induces panic, anger and bitterness. We always have a choice.