Yesterday evening I was blessed with a perfect ending. Just as I turned onto a road leading home I looked over my shoulder and saw the sun’s last light kissing the tops of distant mountains, white-capped with snow. The sun’s path beneath the horizon had left a con trail of bright pink radiance in its wake.
I frantically searched for a side street where I could stop to document this momentous end to the day. It was a moment I almost missed. A moment I could have missed. By the time I finally found a good stopping place, the pink effervescence had disappeared beneath the faraway peaks. Only a pink tinged, grey sky remained. All that endured was faith that the sun would return again tomorrow, and eventually sink below the horizon again. Another chance at pink perfection is sure to return.
Just like the sunset that is here and then gone in a moment, we too sometimes find ourselves moved quickly out of the past and into a new place. The bottom line is . . . we are replaceable. Anyone who tries to tell themselves otherwise is just setting themselves up for disappointment by way of a rude awakening.
We leave, we’re forgotten. Others leave us, we forget them. We bow out, we’re replaced. We watch others bow out, and we replace them. Life goes on. Even in death, while there’s a brief moment of grief, we too will be forgotten much too quickly. Life will go on. The sun will continue to rise, the world turn and daily work will resume.
The cost of replacement can be tricky. It’s difficult to try and try, to dream and dream, to work and work, when we find one day we are seemingly so easily replaced. Sometimes it feels that we must not have had the profound effect (make that any effect) that we hoped. And it can be difficult to watch someone new take on our old tasks, and not only survive . . . but thrive and succeed. Admit it, we’ve all felt this way at one time or another.
However, just like the sun’s promise to return and set brilliantly again, day after day, there is an advantage to beginnings and endings. The fact that we are replaceable gives us the opportunity to focus our efforts somewhere else, somewhere new, while knowing that our old tasks have been covered and are being taken care of. Maybe being replaced is but an opportunity to pursue something new, and God comforts us in showing us that others will take up where we left off. He is showing us that we are free. Free to do the work He has given us to do today. It may be different than what we did yesterday or it may be the same, but in a new capacity or realm. There is work to do, and maybe He is pointing us, directing us, forcing us into a new direction. A place where he knows we can be more effective.
It is hard to watch a beautiful sunset fade into nothing more than a memory. But that sunset will be replaced by another and another, each with its own intrinsic beauty and unique colors. We can be assured that we will be replaced here and there in our lives too, but the memory of those times we enjoyed can rest sweetly in our hearts as we move on to new chapters. Surrender your previous responsibilities, and step up to the new.
It’s never too late to start a new beginning.