Since my father died early last year, I’ve been preoccupied with thoughts of things ending. I’ve always wondered why people are afraid to be told that they look old, or why my friends loathe being reminded that good things will end. I’ve been curious as to why the end of something is a bad thing.
While I was in Kansas over the summer, my friend Noah sent me a picture of a piano that someone had thrown away. It was sitting in a dumpster, keys missing, hammers jutting and strings curling out. He added a caption: “This makes me want to weep.” I didn’t think so. I thought the piano had a somber beauty to it, something so rare but still so permanent.
The sun rises and sets. The tide goes in and out. We don’t remember the names of our ancestors; how could we? In the movements of time, everything has to come and go. Jesus knew this. Jesus always knew. “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal. Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” In that statement, our interests are defined as outside the temporary. Beyond the veil, if you’ll excuse the saying.
Don’t misunderstand me. I’m not saying get rid of your car or throw away your life savings. Neither am I vying for some sort of minimalist living, although we could all do with less excess. No, I’m saying be ready for when things end. Be prepared for when all of your college friends go their separate ways, when your smartphone breaks, and when your car breaks down. Every one of these will eventually happen.
I’m saying don’t fight it; there’s no reason to fight it. You’d have a better time trying to change the course of the Mississippi River than trying to fight change. Everything ends, and everything begins. Your parents probably understand this. Between your grandparents and you, I’d expect that they see the timeline. Don’t worry about it. In the time that this article was written, thousands of people left this earth, but thousands also arrived. It’s the way things go.
We are the crop burning. We are the old making way for the new. All the beauty in the world will eventually come to an end. Just as the sun sets, and the sun rises. How many sunsets will you see in your life? The best songs, the best films, the best friends will all reach an end.
But this is not bad. The passing of time ushers in the new and leaves behind the old. What is the fear that we have? What is the sadness? It is nothing but the passing of grief.
Cross-Meredith is a sophomore majoring in English. He can be reached at Cross-MeredithS@jbu.edu.