Cold wrapped its icy talons around me as I pushed open the front door of the church and sauntered down the snow-dusted steps. Tiptoeing across the miniature skating rink on the sidewalk, I made my way gingerly to the family van and climbed inside. Two coats and several blankets did little to curb the freezing sting inside my non-heated shelter. But I had to be alone.
The small, brick building loomed before me, taunting me. Victory was in its grasp, and like the frigid air that encompassed me, it refused to relinquish its hold.
God, I’d rather be anywhere but here. Why did we have to come? I just want to get back home.
Home. How much longer would it be home to me? If that little brick building had any say in the matter, my home would soon be hours away and this town would be my new dwelling place.
My eyes turned to the car-door window beside me. I watched as dozens of tiny snowflakes hit the window each second and melted into trickling little streams. They perfectly mirrored the flurry of thoughts in my head that threatened to spill into trickling streams down my cheeks.
I don’t want to live here. Please don’t let it happen, Lord. I’ll lose so much.
The flurries swirled me back to a night the week before. A night when I was sitting on a fluffy couch in my best friend’s living room. Grace and I both stared straight ahead. We didn’t dare look at each other or the tears would come.
I cleared my throat and forced the shakiness from my voice. “If my Dad gets this job, we’ll probably only see each other a few times a year.”
“Maybe he’ll find a different church nearby that will hire him as their pastor.” A thread of hope laced Grace’s tiny, encouraging smile.
“I don’t know. He feels so strongly about this opportunity. He’s guest speaking there this Sunday.” I fingered my silk pajamas. “They want to meet his family too.” My wall of strength was crumbling, chipped away moment by moment from the pressure of the flood waters welling up in my eyes.
Finally, a shaky sigh escaped from my lungs. “It’s so hard, Grace. I want to honor God, and if this is His will for my family I don’t want to oppose Him, but ...” I wiped at my insecure eyelids. “I don’t like thinking of all I’ll leave behind.”
Grace stared hard at the carpet for a moment, a million thoughts swimming in her saddened eyes. Then the glimmer of supernatural hope returned, “Maybe if it is God’s will ... for you to move away.” She paused. “Then maybe He doesn’t want you to see it as an end, but as a beginning.”
Her eyes turned absently to the living room window. The snow outside shimmered pale blue in the light of the moon. “Some blessings in life are only meant to last for a short time. Sometimes we have to move on from them to experience the next adventure God has in store.” She glanced back to her lap. “We can’t be sad that we’re losing those old blessings and experiences – just grateful that God allowed us to have them. And content to look back at them as sweet memories.”
The conversation circled around in my head as I sat now in the chilly van, trying to forget how friendly the church people were and how eager they seemed to hire my father.
A beginning. That’s what Grace had said. But right now I couldn’t see past an impending end. The melancholy grip of winter squeezed around my heart. What was winter but the end of everything I loved? The end of going for a run on cool summer mornings. The end of ruby trees in the fall.
Now the winter of these new circumstances wanted to yank me from my best friend.
I looked again to the mindless snow flurries still sweeping the landscape. Maybe this season isn’t an end. Maybe it’s a beginning that leads to spring. Tears melted from my eyes. God, help me to see the good You have planned, and give me the strength to trust that You have new blessings in store.
My moist eyes shifted to the small brick church. Help me to believe that sometimes the end is just the beginning.