Beginnings and Endings

Along unfamiliar paths I will guide you;

I will turn the darkness into light before you

and make the rough places smooth.  

These are the things I will do,

I will not forsake you. 

Isaiah 42: 16

I saw this verse today, and it struck a chord.  In some ways it seems both a promise and a definition of  life right now as I travel an unfamiliar path trying to make the rough places smooth.  I must confess to not always knowing how to do that.

Life is a series of beginnings and endings.  Beginnings, as with the birth of a new baby, are joyful,  a promise of things to come.  Little about welcoming a baby into the world causes sadness, and one can find joy in bathing, changing diapers, feeding, satisfying whatever needs the little one has, all of which contributes to a feeling of being so necessary.

The same cannot always be said of endings.  While similar attentions as those given a baby may be required,  it is hard to feel the same joy when the person being cared for is a parent, a once vital person whose life has dwindled to little more than existence.  And, in the blink of an eye, traces of a life that was can be erased.

Never have the differences between beginnings and endings been more clear to me than now.  What a special pleasure and privilege it is to help a daughter with a newborn and his young siblings.  The path is light, the road smooth, the job familiar.

The same is not true when I leave that environment and go to check on my mother.  I comb her hair, help with her bath, trim her nails, straighten her clothes, remind her to eat.  This is the more unfamiliar path, one I never dreamed of following and one that is often rough and without light.  No matter how difficult the path, to her I make the same promise as the one in Isaiah: I will not forsake you.

How fortunate to be a part of beginnings and endings.  They are what help us become who we are.

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13 thoughts on “Beginnings and Endings

  1. Prayers lifted up for you and your family. I remember all the things going through my end when my mom was ill before she left us. I pray for strength that you make it through new babies and your mom. I pray for wisdom to always say the right things at the right time. and I pray for patience, both will need it more than ever. A great big hug is sent your way too. xo marlis

  2. One of your most beautifully expressed musings. So poignant. But isn’t it good that endings and beginnings often come to families at the same time?

  3. Linda, what a beautiful composition of your heart feelings – love that Scripture – one of my favorites. To say you are a picturesque writer would be the understatement. Thanks for your openness. Much truth in what you’ve said. Keep it up. Have a wonderful day!

  4. What a touching post, you have so much tenderness, strength and conviction. Your daughter and especially your mother is so blessed to have you!

  5. Linda, this is so moving. May I have your permission to post it on my facebook page so others can be so inspired by your words….kim

  6. My heart goes out to you, Linda. Both Holly and your Mother are so blessed to have you. Such contrasts life is made up of!
    You will never be sorry for that love you are giving your mother right now, difficult as it is. When she is gone, it gives you peace that you did what you could, and we never know exactly how much of that she is able to comprehend. God bless you in your happiness and your sorrow. Sandy

  7. So beautiful and true, Linda! I am emailing a picture to you. It spoke a thousand words to me. Wish I could copy it here for others to see

  8. No act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted, or so Aesop said.

    Life is both bitter and sweet, sometimes on the same day, or so my friend Ellen Gover said.

    At least you are involved in the natural progression of life, both the bitter and the sweet, but take solace that you are acting in the natural order of things. You don’t want to see some of the UN-natural order of things that I have watched families endure.

    When your mother has gone, you can comfort yourself with “well done, good and faithful daughter.”

    On a lighter note, I think the bunnies I got are too big. They have to all be the same size. Would you take a measuring tape to Calebs? No good deed goes sun punished.

  9. Dear friend,
    What a beautifully written piece and reading it this morning has been a gift. Your words and thoughts are so heartfelt and so true regarding life’s path. And how comforting it is to know (and always remember) God is with us every step of the way! Thank you.

  10. My Mother in Law is still independant enough to be able to live in her own home, but the help she needs to stay there grows steadity every month. It also become noticable.

    Not for nothing are we being called the “sandwich generation” = full time carers for children of our own and for parents who need increasing help. It’s the flip side to living longer lives, not everyone has great health, mental or otherwise and it will be one of the greatest issues of this century I believe.

    Luckily we do not forsake our parents and in turn our own children hopefully grow up knowing that caring requires involvment, unconditional love and effort.

  11. Lulu/Mom, I think this may be one of your best musings. Full of what is real. And I love that verse from Isaiah. God’s promise not to leave or forsake is HUGE.

    Love you,

  12. Thank you Linda, for saying what I feel so much of the time.

  13. Bless you, my friend, such hard times. Just cherish every moment. Remember saying to my mom when my dad died so young at only 60, and my son was only 4 months old. “life is a cycle, with new beginngs and sometimes very difficult endings.

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