I had an encouraging experience this week, and I wanted to share it with you.
My children have been very excited about the release of Toy Story 4, begging to watch it as soon as it came out. We promised to take them, and so we felt it important to catch up on the previous film: Toy Story 3.
But here's the deal with me and Toy Story 3... I had always refused to watch it. I had heard from so many people that Toy Story 3 was terribly sad, and my empath heart just didn't ever have the desire to be so saddened by a children's movie. I imagined that the sadness caused by the film would have something to do with goodbyes and growing up, with releasing attachments and the grief that goes along with it. I refused for years to see the movie because that sort of pain has always been very difficult for me, and I didn't want to have to watch it on the big screen, too.
But my children begged, and I finally agreed. And this is where the encouraging moment happened for me: while I was of course saddened by the film in some respects, I actually felt that the ending was beautiful and and true and uplifting! Yes, there were goodbyes and growing up, and there was a letting go of attachments that tugged on the heartstrings. But what I saw in the midst of those things was redemption. The goodbyes were beautiful and born out of love. The grief was honest. And the release of attachments led to new beginnings.
I was encouraged to remember that we don't have to be afraid of endings, even the sad ones. I was encouraged to remember that in the One True Narrative of redemption, nothing is wasted. And I was encouraged to remember that beginnings hold a certain type of beauty all their own.
In this season where so many of us are facing endings, beginnings, transitions, waiting periods, or the complex combination of all of it ... I just want to remind you that it all belongs. Beloved sons and daughters of God: remember that you are chosen, blessed, broken, and given. And every bit of it offers space for redemption.
I love you, church. I'll see you Sunday for our inbreaking, either at the warehouse or at Oak House. Thank you for all the ways you contribute to this community.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 NLT
For everything there is a season,
a time for every activity under heaven.
2 A time to be born and a time to die.
A time to plant and a time to harvest.
A time to kill and a time to heal.
A time to tear down and a time to build up.
A time to cry and a time to laugh.
A time to grieve and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
A time to search and a time to quit searching.
A time to keep and a time to throw away.
A time to tear and a time to mend.
A time to be quiet and a time to speak.
A time to love and a time to hate.
Endings... And Beginnings