“The End.” There’s something definitively final about those two simple words. Those two, three letter words appear on the screen when the last words of the actors have fallen into an irretrievable silence and the screen has been swept barren of images. They pen an irrefutable and final ‘period’ on the last page of novels beyond which sentences and syntax utterly cease to exist. These two simple words bring down the final curtain at the end of every play with everything behind the curtain now entirely exhausted and utterly spent in the performance. “The End.”
The implication is that something is over. But far more than over, these words imply that something has run the full length of its course and that no other course lies beyond it. The words “The End” suggest that the story has been told to outright completion and that not a single line or scant syllable is left to the tale to tell at some future time. “The End” seems to indicate that whatever has transpired has completely rolled over into lifeless annals of history without any ability on our part to reach out and resuscitate it, leaving nothing in our hands but a shadowy memory of what no longer is. And more despairingly, it all leaves us without any sense that whatever has ended will somehow show up on the horizon of the future to be enjoyed yet again. “The End.”
Despite the finality of it all, we have this terribly tenacious proclivity to fight against the notion that an end is an absolute end. There seems to be such a ruthless totality about it all. Something within us adamantly objects to the finality of an end; something that senses that life is somehow far too grand and immensely too resilient to ever be held captive to endings of any kind despite the magnitude or ferocity of them. There is some possibly primal or likely spiritual sense that shouts that life is far too magnificent to have even the minutest part of it irreparably shut down with such an abrupt finality. It is nearly inconceivable to step up to the line where something expired and to see nothing but ‘nothing’ beyond the line.
Quite to the contrary, we are swept up in limitless possibilities that infuse endings with the stuff that birth beginnings. We have that unflinching sense that something else always lies out beyond whatever it is that has transpired, copiously prepared and wholly readied to step in in some nearly anointed fashion. We see life as a unrelenting progression rather than a blunted termination. Things give way to other things which in turn gives way to yet other things in some undefeatable cycle that stretches eons beyond our imaginations and reaches far beyond the span of our years. In the deep habitations of our souls, there is no “The End.”
The Gospel and New Beginnings
Anything created meticulously and quite ingeniously mirrors even the subtlest attributes of that which created it. The throbbing heart and most intimate soul of anything that has ever been created was intimately shaped by the hands of some creator that birthed it. And in the birthing, every stroke of every creator’s hand was dictated by the nature of their heart and the character of their soul.
Therefore, could it be that the relentlessness of the world around us, bolstered by the passionate hunger to survive even in the face of the most heinous and potent threats mirrors the heart of that which spun all of creation into existence? Could it be that the inability to embrace the absolute finality of an end simply rests in the fact that there is no end to that which created all that there is? And if that is indeed the case, then the purposed defense of hope and the sterling promise of a future stand without interruption or threat. If that is the case, the horizon will always be filled with droves of that which will fill, heal and restore the places and spaces left by that which has departed.
That is the vitalizing message of the Gospel. And that message means that “The End” is nothing more and nothing less than a beginning infused with great promise and fresh start laced with irrepressible hope.