Hi friends! Soul Food is back … with all new episodes.

Today, lets talk about endings. 

Four years ago this month, I finished up working at a place where I had been employed for 32 years. We sold a home that we loved and we moved interstate. It was a major ending for me. A huge step into the unknown. I become a little emotional just thinking about it. 

In many ways, life is a journey with many different seasons and those seasons are marked by endings, in-between times, and beginnings … all interconnected. These beginnings and endings happen in our relationships, our educational journey, our living arrangements, and our vocation. 

Most endings are hard. They involve ‘letting go’, finding closure, and saying ‘goodbye’. There are often tears. There is loss. There is grief. 

But endings are necessary. In fact, endings bring with them the possibility of new beginnings.

Henry Cloud is his helpful book Necessary Endings says: “Endings are a natural part of life – we either face them, stagnate or die. Without the ability to do endings well, we flounder, stay stuck and fail to reach our goals and dreams.”

What endings have occurred for you recently? What have you had to let go of? What are the losses? What feelings are you experiencing about those endings? How are you different now? What are learning?

You may have heard of the principle of displacement. If you have a plate that is full there is no room for anything new to be added to it. But if you remove some things from your plate, you create the space and the room for new things. That’s what endings do for us.

What necessary endings are coming up for you? Can you sense some nearing?

Have a look at this diagram below. It’s called a ‘Sigmoid Curve’.

This Sigmoid Curve illustrates those transition times in our life. After a season of learning and growth (the purple line), Point A is where we begin to ask ourselves some questions about our current reality and maybe even experience doubts about whether we are where we really want to be. We are feeling unsettled and restless or our motivation is low. It is time for an ending and a new curve to start (the blue line)? Point B is where we may have waited longer than necessary and we ‘hit the wall’ or have a crisis that forces an ending and propels us into rapid change. 

We will have many of these curves or cycles in each aspect of our life throughout our lifetime (organizations do too). The key is to discern the endings and navigate them with as much courage, discernment, and wisdom as we can.  

Let’s recap our main points:

  1. Life is a journey with many seasons, all involving endings and beginnings. 
  2. Feelings of grief, sadness, and loss are normal when we encounter endings. 
  3. Endings make new beginnings possible.
  4. Learn to discern the seasons of change in your life. 

Finally, don’t go it alone. Find a safe friend or advisor to talk about the possible endings in your life and the inevitable emotions you are experiencing. 

That’s all for today. See you next week when we look at Beginnings.

You can watch this episode now on the Soul Food YouTube Channel.

8 thoughts on “Soul Food Episode 19 – Endings

  1. Big fan of Sigmoid. So was Shakespeare:

    There is a tide in the affairs of men,
    Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
    Omitted, all the voyage of their life
    Is bound in shallows and in miseries.

    Brutus in ‘Julius Caesar’

    1. Ha ha – love it! Great quote, Phil. Thanks for the comment and I hope your next season is filled with much joy and meaningful moments 🙂

  2. Great post, Mark. Doing transitions well is a huge challenge, more so for folk with a pastoral/caring bent. Even informal coaching or mentoring can be helpful.

    1. Yes, I think doing transitions alone can be so much harder. You are right, a coach or mentor can be a life-saver! Thanks for all you are doing in that space, Ian.

  3. Thanks for your encouragement Mark. The last four year have had a lot of endings and beginnings especially at the moments for us. It was great to see your chart explaining upwards and onwards. What next is the question? I am sure God has it all planned. I have already organized to join a KYB group. Love to you and Nicole. Diane

    1. Nice to hear from you, Diane. Yes, lots of change can be very challenging to navigate. Over the next few weeks, we will talk about ‘beginnings’ and those awkward ‘in-between’ times. Hope you enjoy the KYB group. Love to you and Allan too. Take care.

  4. Thank you Mark for this great and timely reminder! In April last year I retired from the airline industry after 58 years. I thought I’d be fine but it’s been a bit of an emotional tsunami!! Disconnecting with workmates all over New Zealand and Australia, and from companies worldwide that I dealt with. It’s been like a mass divorce!! I figured it would be tough, but it’s been much more!!! And it has muddled my spiritual life as well. Just trusting for wisdom, composure and the peaceful presence of the Lord. Keep these great messages coming. Thank you so much! God bless you and yours.

    1. Oh, wow that is huge Ray! There is a lot of loss and grief there for you to deal with. Might be worth chatting to someone about those powerful and normal emotions for this time. Hopefully, you can find some ‘new’ things that provide meaning and joy for you in this next season, as you clearly have much to contribute. As they say, don’t ‘retire’, ‘refire’ with some new areas of passion and interest. All the best, my friend.

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