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A Blessing for a New Beginning

In out-of-the-way places of the heart,

Where your thoughts never think to wander,

This beginning has been quietly forming,

Waiting until you were ready to emerge.


For a long time it has watched your desire,

Feeling the emptiness growing inside you,

Noticing how you willed yourself on,

Still unable to leave what you had outgrown.


It watched you play with the seduction of safety

And the gray promises that sameness whispered,

Heard the waves of turmoil rise and relent,

Wondered would you always live like this.


Then the delight, when your courage kindled,

And out you stepped onto new ground,

Your eyes young again with energy and dream,

A path of plenitude opening before you.


Though your destination is not yet clear

You can trust the promise of this opening;

Unfurl yourself into the grace of beginning

That is at one with your life’s desire.


Awaken your spirit to adventure;

Hold nothing back, learn to find ease in risk;

Soon you will be home in a new rhythm,

For your soul senses the world that awaits you.

-“New Beginnings,” from To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings by John O’Donohue



You know what can be hard? Endings. Maybe 2018 was a year of joy or a year of tumult for you—or perhaps both, most years tend to be.

You know what can be hard? Endings.

Endings are hard because they always involve chaos and loss even as they promise newfound change and hope.

It is hard to not yet be ready to part with something though you know you have outgrown it, though your insides know the time is coming when you must let it go.

If you’re engaged in justice-seeking of any kind, you have likely experienced an ending of one sort or another. Perhaps it's a shift in your work or your sense of call about where to engage. Perhaps the end of one chapter of your work came before you were ready, or finally came long past the time you were ready to shift. Saying goodbye to one thing to begin another requires some courage, some ambivalence, some release of control, and a good helping of trust—to release something or release yourself from something when it’s time to let go, especially if it’s something that’s been good and meaningful.

Perhaps it's a shift in your work or your sense of call about where to engage.

But the thing about endings is there’s always a new beginning up ahead showing itself even as an ending unfolds.

We are in the first days of the new year, so the promise of new beginnings is easy to sense; it is fitting and natural to settle into the hope of new things. But before we begin new things, we must let go of some old things.

For those of us on the threshold of one thing ending and another beginning; who don’t know what’s ahead in this next part of the journey; who are finishing things where we are—making endings, gathering loose ends, closing chapters, tending to the wounded parts at the leaving—while simultaneously looking ahead and opening ourselves to the possibility of all the unknown, glory, hope, and fear ahead—hear this:

You are courageous, you are bold, you are brave. To stay when it has been time to go is to stunt, halt, and hurt your growth and likely the growth of the place you are in.

Especially you justice workers, know that it is ok to go when it is time to go.

Bless you for allowing the longing of your soul to come to the surface. Especially you justice workers, know that it is ok to go when it is time to go.

But if you didn’t choose the change and life chose it for you, trust that there is some design, some goodness hidden in the corners of this tumult—“you can trust the promise of this opening.”

It’s important to say goodbye to things. Make a proper goodbye. Speak goodbyes to rooms you’ve inhabited, touch walls, earth, and grass that held you for this last season. Write notes and letters to the people you’ve loved who have loved you whom you will be leaving; let them know of your appreciation and love. Reflect on what your work has meant to you, done for you, done for others. Cry. Let yourself feel the grief well up in you and risk that it won’t break you to feel it even if it feels like it might.

“You can trust the promise of this opening.”

And then when the tears have been shed, the nights have been long, the boxes are packed up, the spaces cleared out, and the wide open is in front of you—leave what is now behind you, and step over that threshold into the new thing. I’m not going to tell you to not be afraid—fear is part and parcel of this chaos and change that is loss and new beginnings. But hold the promise along with the fear and keep moving forward.

You work for justice. You are already brave. All you have to do is keep stepping boldly into the unknown, as you have always done.

There will be days when you will miss what was—the security, the assurance of knowing what was coming or what you had, the people you were with, the work you had to do. It is alright to miss.

But hold the promise along with the fear.

But in that longing, don’t forget the deeper longing that moved you forward and out of where you just came from. Trust that clearer, older, deeper longing.

You will mercifully also have days where you will feel deep assurance that you are right where you need to be, strange and different and wonderful as it is—let that be enough to carry you through the days as you need it.

In the times of opaqueness, when the way forward isn’t clear, trust the movement and urgency that moved you out and into the new things; trust that you will be met as you need to be, given what you need, and have enough clarity to take the next step forward.

You will also have days where you will feel deep assurance that you are right where you need to be.

Endings are hard. We feel the loss of what we once had. We feel the change and chaos and emptiness of goodbyes and things left behind.

But trust that that open space in you, your time, your life is a portal into the next thing for you. New beginnings are on the horizon. And it’s a good thing.  

[Photo by Samuel Silitonga from Pexels]

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