Chapters… Stopping points. Places to pause. Forced divisions between sections. Any given book you read is filled with chapters. Some are short, others longer. Some showcase critical characters, others simply build the storyline. The Bible literally has thousands of examples.
Oftentimes chapters conclude in large-scale action or because of a noteworthy event that has occurred. Mystery novels or thrillers are a great example of this where usually the main character can be found in a cliffhanging situation…a chase, a fight or some other form of drama. Other times, chapters end uneventfully with no fanfare or particular action taking place…almost as if the author just felt it was time to take a breath before continuing.
It occurs to me that the story of our life can be segmented into chapters as well.
Sometimes the change between life chapters is obvious–marriages, births, etc. As I reflect on many of these events in my own life, I can see clear lines of change around these events; i.e. things were one way when I was single, then they shifted to something different when I married. These particular types of divisions in our lives can be anticipated, planned for…expected.
And yet there are other times when planning isn’t possible. Times when circumstances lurch hard to the left in an unexpected way that forces us to stumble, regain our footing, then travel forward on a path that is not quite the same as before. A new chapter was forced. We didn’t ask for it, we wouldn’t have chosen it for ourselves at that time, but it happened. Death is one poignant example of this.
Regardless of how the chapters were formed, they all connect to form a tale of just who each of us are and how we became. While not as enjoyable, even the painful, sudden sections of our stories do serve a purpose– they cause us to be more mindful and thankful of the good times.
As 2014 comes to a close, I’m reminded that I must enjoy the express place I am in now while it lasts. Family, friends, relationships that I have…they are all blessings that should not be ignored or taken for granted, but rather appreciated and enjoyed.
Once this particular chapter ends, the next one will be different; how should I spend my time now so that I have no regrets looking back?
I’m grateful that we cannot see the future, and I am certain God had a purpose in designing it this way. Advice to self: the next chapter will build on this one, and it might be harder…be in the moment now…take one chapter at a time…absorb the content…don’t rush…learn what you are supposed to learn.
Not The End