By Loreen Husband
Sunrise or sunset? If you’re looking at a photo it can be quite difficult to decide which one the photo features unless you were there when it was taken. In a recent edition of the Dauphin Church bulletin, Tim Pippus said in his weekly article; “People spend a lot of time thinking about new beginnings. We often obsess about how we feel right now. Yet, we make the best decisions when we think, ‘Regardless of where I am now or what I am going through, how do I want this story to end?’”. I will admit that since consenting to write this article, I have been doing a great deal of thinking about new beginnings and endings.
Initially, I thought I would write about how my retirement led to the beginning of an entrepreneurial idea that led to running my own business. There were lots of life lessons to learn: you’re never too old to reinvent yourself, surround yourself with the right people, and you can do anything; a good idea may really be your ‘calling’ in life.
And then in an instant; life put a whole ‘other’ perspective on new beginnings.
Our family is facing a ‘new beginning’ because our dear Lisa was taken from this life. Although the greatest impact of this event will be felt by our son – her husband, Benji, we too will need to learn to live with that new reality without our daughter-in-law. How can the end of something – yea even a life – really be a new beginning? Aren’t new beginnings supposed to be about joy and hope and greater things?
Reflection on biblical examples can be very enlightening in this regard. Eve faced a new beginning when she and Adam were expelled from the Garden of Eden. Lot’s wife faced a new beginning when she was forced to leave Sodom, but her new beginning took an abrupt about-face when she turned to look back. Leah was given a new beginning when she allowed her father to deceive Jacob into taking her as his first wife, instead of Rachel. Sapphira faced a new beginning when she joins Ananias in their deceit against the early church. None of these new beginnings were exactly joyful events.
There are, however, other examples of new beginnings that are more hopeful. Hannah experienced a new beginning; when she prayed for children and was rewarded for her faithfulness in the birth of Samuel. Mary Magdalene faced a new beginning; when she washed Jesus’ feet with her tears. Ruth and Naomi enjoyed their new beginning in a different land following the death of their husbands.
New beginnings come about in our lives for a variety of reasons. Birth, graduation, successful employment, marriage, new friendships, and moving into a new home are all things that make for very happy new beginnings. But there are less happy events in life that present us with new beginnings as well – divorce, being laid off, a friendship ending, and yes even death all force us to make new beginnings. They may not be a new beginning, we are very comfortable with, but nevertheless, they are what we have to do.
But death, Loreen? One of the first things that ran through my mind after the news of Lisa’s passing was the hymn “Does Jesus Care?”. “Does Jesus care when I’ve said good-bye to the dearest on earth to me?. Lisa was one of the dearest people on earth to me. She was so brave and so strong for so long. Even more than that, she was always so positive and optimistic that life would eventually get better for her and Benj. If you’ve never heard her story I would invite you to go the Facebook page “Take Part of Me” to read her story and see the influence and impact she had on the world, even though it seemed like she spent more time in the hospital than she did at home.
I can only take solace in the next words of the song … “Oh yes He cares, I know He cares. His heart is touched with my grief.” And this will need to be what we lean on as we make this new beginning of life without our dear Lisa. It’s not going to be easy because there will still be days when “the burdens press, And the cares distress, And the way grows weary and long?” BUT – “When the days are weary, The long night dreary, I know my Savior cares.”
We have no idea how the story of our lives will unfold. We don’t know how many more new beginnings God has in store for us. But I do know how I want the story of my life to end. I want to enter heaven’s portal to hear my Saviour say,“ ‘Well done, you good and faithful servant!’… ‘Come on in and share my happiness!’ (Matthew 25:21 Good News Translation)