Wednesday, October 5, 2011
The Ending Always Comes At Last
In 1973, Art Garfunkel marked his debut as a solo artist separate from his longtime partner, Paul Simon, with a song titled "All I Know" that included these haunting lyrics:
"But the ending always comes at last, Endings always come too fast, They come too fast, But they pass too slow"
For everyone of us, there is an ending coming. Not the end of the year, of a job or career, a relationship. An ultimate ending. And none of us ever wants to talk about it. Very few of us even want to think of it much. But we will all face that ultimate ending to our lives.
I am going to ask you to just take a moment to be morbid. Think about the people that mean the most in your life. Your family: parents, spouses, children and more. Your very best friends. The people that you count on to be there for you through your worst times. They will all be gone one day. The only real question is, who will go first, you, or them?
It has been said that there are no atheists in a foxhole. The implication being that if you are truly faced with death, the very real possibility of it, perhaps even the likelihood of it, then you will abandon your atheism or agnosticism for an outreach to a God that to that point you shunned.
This article isn't about morbidity. It is not about negativity. It is not about giving up. It is not about hopelessness. It is about the truth of this life.
The truth is that this life is not all there is to things. You, the essence of you, your "soul" if you will, will never be placed into a box and lowered into the ground. It will never be placed into a flame, burned to ashes, and poured into an urn or scattered to the wind.
God speaks to us all, if we will only listen. In the moments that I have opened my heart and my mind to listen, he has spoken to me plainly. One thing that he has told me is that this is not the end for you.
This life will end, and you have no idea when that time will come. It will not come for most of you when you are in your 80's in the peace of sleep, or in a hospital bed after a brief stay following a sudden age-related illness. For some of us it will come tomorrow, maybe even today. This year, perhaps, or in the next decade. But it will come, probably sooner than you know, and definitely sooner than you would like.
What God has told me about death is that you must not fear it's coming. In fact, you need to stop fearing it right now. You need to begin to face it as you live. You need to prepare for it while you still can. I am not talking the preparation of wills and burial plots and insurance. I am talking about your immortal soul.
Your body will die, and when it does, then it will be too late for you to do anything about the disposition of that soul. You are being given a chance now, right now, this very moment. There is a reason that you are reading this, a reason that you are thinking about these words and the truth behind them. It rings true to you because it is true.
Don't get morbid. Don't go negative. Just begin to think about where you want to spend eternity: in God's loving grace with many of your loved ones, or in the darkness and emptiness and utter hopelessness and despair of an eternity without his light. Eternity is a long time to spend alone in the dark for the heartiest of souls.
If you have turned from God, turn back. He is still there. Talk to him, he will listen, and he will answer your questions if you ask with earnestness and openness, and if you allow yourself to be still and hear his answer. If you have the courage to both do this, and act on his answers, you will have nothing to fear when your time comes.
The ending always comes at last. Endings always come too fast. They come too fast, but they pass too slow. Garfunkel's song ends with this: "I love you, and that's all I know." That's as good a place as any to end this...