Last things first! I’ve mentioned before that I am a last-things-first person.
When Ken and I were dating I did a last-things-first: I set some boundaries because my end goal was a long and happy relationship and empowered children. Ken gave me boundaries too, so you don’t need to feel sorry for him. (smile). We started with the desired end result and worked back to the beginning. It gave us comfort because we knew no matter how emotions took over, that neither of us would purposely set out to hurt the other. The boundaries would help us reach that goal and renew commitments.
Whether cleaning or writing, preserving for winter, or shopping or planning my day – I set out with my last thing first – that is when I get to the end of my work, the day, the shopping or whatever – what is the one thing that is most important. Every day, I plan the evening meal before breakfast (sometimes, in the wee hours of the morning when I quit writing). That way, whatever goes wrong during the day –and you know it will- we will have a relaxing dinner together.
I just shopped for a new piece of exercise equipment and set out my goal. It was easier to say no to this, and no to that because at the start of the hunt, I outlined what the ending would look like. (If I shop without the final page very specifically determined, I am in trouble, buy too much and often end up returning most of it). Knowing the details makes the hunt more fun for me.
I am taking some writing and speaking courses and realized I write and speak the same way. I start with the last words, asking what do I want to leave in the reader’s mind. Everything I do builds up to and hopefully underscores and builds anticipation for that final page.
I believe all of life has spiritual undertones and lessons, so spiritual issues are handled the same way – if the big rocks are in place, the other things will not only seem smaller, they will be easier to resolve. Especially when I am reminded none of it is about me or controlled by me.
If that sounds too pat, I don’t mean it to. It’s just that the ‘big rocks’ – the final page of where I will spend eternity being determined = truly affects all of my other life decisions and reactions. Sometimes, life throws some huge curves like our daughter’s unexpected death, and the sudden tragedy of friends of our extended family losing several of their children in a fire. And yes, when those things happen we find ourselves saying or thinking things like, “How can I go on?” Or, as Luke and Jodi Veldt did, wonder if anything in the world made sense – even their faith. (When Tears Remain – Discovery Series)
It took several months after our loss for me to feel God’s presence again. But trust me, even in that lost stage, all I could articulate were cries of, “Oh, God.” Yet, the Big Rock was there. I knew God was there no matter what I felt. And I knew as Cec Murphy says, “Feelings are just emotions and emotions are not reality.” Reality is found in that book in my girls hands.
But, still tumbling in the tsunami of grief, it felt impossible to find the rock to stand on. Ironically, knowing my daughter had settled her final page, and lived her life with that assurance, brought me first peace.
Scouring her notes to me led back to the scriptures she claimed through her life, then back to the date of my own calling to settle last things, and back to God who had been there, of course, the entire time.
None of us know of course, what life will bring – or when. My heart breaks daily for those I know and those I read or hear about but don’t know personally who suffer tragic events. I pray for them because I cannot bear it but I know the one who can.
What is written on your final page?