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The End of an Era

“The end of an era.”

I’m contemplating a couple of endings this week.  How do you feel when things end?

I guess it depends on what’s ending.

Relief, excitement, devastation, joy, sorrow, apathy.  So many emotions for endings.

Our babies move into new stages.  Crawling ends.  Nursing ends.  Preschool ends.

Jobs end; grad school ends.  Sometimes marriages end.

Sometimes the endings are abrupt and traumatic.  Death, breakups, lay offs.

Sometimes they’re so gradual they sneak up on you.  When I crawled out of anorexia, it took time.  Slowly, bite by bite, I realized I was eating again and I lost count of calories.

Another ending has been sneaking up on me.  Maybe.  I don’t know.  My long, tortured history with my malfunctioning uterus has led me to an appointment.  We’re going to talk about getting rid of it altogether, and I’m feeling conflicted.

The end of an era.  Goodbye endometriosis?  It’s a very final note in a maudlin symphony of pain.

It’s strange to think about losing this piece of me, however dysfunctional.  Endometriosis has shaped my entire life, from a childhood of missing school and fainting spells to my twenties as a lab rat and my thirties in the world of adoption.

And every step with the stabbing pain in my pelvis.  Sometimes endings are good and necessary and healthy.

But even when you know you need something to end, do you still feel loss?  Even when you can sense the relief in the ending, is it still sometimes hard to make that decision?

I don’t know what life is like without the pain.

Endings are weird.

And there are the endings we get to choose and the ones we don’t.

Is anyone watching a child graduate this spring?  I know, kinda non sequitur, but it’s all ending-related in my brain.  I’ve been leading this precious group of Class of 2014 girls since they were in sixth grade, and 2014 seemed really far away when I started and now it’s here.

This weekend is our last retreat together.  We’ve spent this year talking SATs and college applications.  They’re scattering all over campuses and our time together is drawing to a close.  This weekend we’ll get together one last time for too many pretzel M&Ms, another Sole Hope shoe-cutting party, and honest questions about God.

They’re ready to start new lives and I’m ready to send them off.  But there’s this wonky thing that time does where it speeds up at the end until you haven’t said everything you wanted to.  Seven years felt like forever and now it feels too short.  And if you’re an actual parent, not a student ministry leader, I can’t imagine what eighteen years feels like now.

Wombs, school, relationships.  Everything ends sometimes, and I won’t Sunday school you with an “except Jesus’ love.”  I guess I just did.

The thing about endings isn’t whether you end, but how you do it.  I want to end well.  For my girls, I want to run this race with them up until the end and make sure they know they can call me any time from any place and I will love them fiercely no matter what.  I want to talk about everything, to make sure they ask every question and that it’s always, always okay to question and wonder and think out loud.  To be brave and whimsical.  To ponder.

I’m so tired of life and this pain in my belly, but I want to end well, to perk up when I hear the doorbell and know that it’s them.  To linger at the door just a little longer to hear one more story.

The end of an era.  The beginning of this new, funky friendship that can last long past curfews and college.

The end of an era.  The beginning of life without pelvic pain?  Is this possible?

Are you facing an ending, or maybe a couple of completely unrelated ones like me?  Are you greeting it with excitement or dread?  Nervousness or relief or peace or a little of everything?

I could use prayer for womb wisdom.  How can I pray for you?


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