A Time for Necessary Endings

When it’s hard to bring a chapter to a close

Posted in , Oct 4, 2017

When things come to an end.

Endings are necessary and crucial, but often difficult to accept. This is something I observed as we were helping Neredia, my mother-in-law, prepare to move from her apartment into a 55-and-older community. Although her new location is only five minutes from where she lives now and has many benefits including cheaper rent and activities, she is finding it hard to bring this chapter to a close. As we were packing boxes, I could sense her discomfort. I asked her what she was feeling, she responded, “I don’t want to move.” 

In his book, Necessary Endings, author Dr. Henry Cloud wrote, “Endings are not only part of life; they are a requirement for living and thriving, professionally and personally. Being alive requires that we sometimes kill off things in which we were once invested, uproot what we previously nurtured, and tear down what we built for an earlier time.” He adds, “But without the ability to do endings well, we flounder, stay stuck, and fail to reach our goals and dreams.” 

Why do we avoid endings? Dr. Henry Cloud provides a number of reasons, but I will name a few:

--We do not know if an ending is actually necessary or if it is fixable.

--We are afraid of the unknown.

--We are afraid of hurting someone.

--We are afraid of letting go and the sadness associated with an ending.

--We do not possess the skills to execute the ending.

--We have experienced many painful endings, so we avoid another one. 

I admit that I have delayed closing chapters in my life due to a few of the reasons listed above. In life, we will face many endings–some we are in control of, others we are not. In the book of Ecclesiastes the author states, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.” Endings are the closing of a season in our life. What has helped you with closing a chapter in your life? Please share with us.

Lord, give us wisdom and courage to make the necessary endings in our lives. 

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Tags: Family,Stress
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