In her book, Kitchen Table Wisdom, Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen writes, “Nothing ever ends without something else beginning or begins without something else ending…beginnings and endings are always right up against each other.” As I finish out the spring semester of my counseling job on a college campus, I find myself faced with my own endings and new beginnings. I’ve said goodbye to the seniors I counseled this semester even as I anticipate the beginnings I’ll have with new clients next semester. I’ve put the finishing touches on a mosaic art piece and am now faced with the question of what art project to begin next. And, perhaps most importantly, I’ve decided to go back to counseling this summer so I can begin to put an end to some negative, anxious thinking that holds me back from achieving what I believe to be my potential.
Others in my life are facing endings and beginnings: the end of addiction and beginning of recovery; the end of distorted body image and beginning of body acceptance; the end of binge-eating and beginning of mindful eating; the end of isolation and the beginning of reconnection with friends and family who care.
If we zoom in and focus only on endings, it’s easy to feel discouraged. But Dr. Remen’s words remind me to take a step back, open my eyes wider and look around for the possibility of a new beginning just over the horizon. That doesn’t mean that we skip over the grieving that comes with any ending. Grieving is natural and sharing our feelings about endings is healthy. But it means that there is hope. If there’s one thing I pray for every day in my work with clients, it’s the ability to be an instrument of peace — one who can instill hope where there was once despair.
What endings are you facing? Are there new beginnings on the horizon, just waiting to be noticed?
Peace, hope, and health.