Beginnings and Endings
T.S. Eliot wrote, “What we call the beginning is often the end, and to make an end is to make a beginning. The end is where we start from”. I love this quote. It reminds me that life is a series of interconnected changes that allow us to flow from one phase to another. Life is not stagnant, and change is inevitable. I am also reminded of the Circle of Life – birth, growth, death, and rebirth. The end of each phase makes the next one possible to begin, and so the circle keeps going around.
Change, however, is never easy – even positive change. Stress and anxiety come part and parcel with it. When faced with a new beginning or an ending, the one certainty is that there will be change and stress. And so it was with me a few months ago when I began to experience a bit of anxiety over beginning my internship here. You know how it goes – that internal self-talk that makes you feel like you’re 16 again starts to bubble to the surface even though you know you are competent and capable!
During one of my many conversations this summer with a trusted colleague, I shared some of my anxiety. They responded to with some words of wisdom that were given to them by their mentor. They said, “Start as you wish to finish”. Their words were profoundly life-giving for me, and I began to visualize myself as a professional minister, not as just a student. I suppose you could call it an internal paradigm shift. I committed myself to starting as I wished to finish, and much of my anxiety dissipated. The end is where we start from, indeed. Yet, even as I strive to begin as I wish to end – to BE a minister – my hope is that I will also maintain a “beginners mind”, and remain open to new learning, new possibilities, and to new growth and insights.
May this church year bring all of us learning, growth, and experiences beyond our expectations and imaginations, and may we all start as we wish to finish.
In the Spirit,
Albany UU Ministerial Intern