In general, I like beginnings more than endings—especially for movies, books, yard work, warm weather, holidays, and pretty much everything (except for running and going to the dentist). Endings can feel too final for me. Frequently things don’t turn out the way I want, and I want more time and opportunity to affect a different outcome.
And what if I missed something? In college I was always among the first to finish my test but the very last to turn it in because I would check and re-check every answer to be sure I didn’t misread anything. Academically, this worked well for me, but in the context of relationships and my stories of harm, this approach imprisoned me to the past. But I am enjoying a new way of thinking: I am starting to name beginnings and endings in my journey.
Over the last six months I completed the arduous process of changing my last name. Unless you are getting married, divorced, adopted, or immigrating from a foreign country, changing your last name is a seriously tricky task. I was actually adopted about six years ago, but it wasn’t official. Since I was over eighteen, a name change simply didn’t happen. The family that has kept me and loved me and made me their own is my real family as far as I am concerned; therefore, I want to share their last name too. I want as much shared identity with them as I can get, and my heart desperately needs the restoration of belonging to a family and a name that is good.
Throughout all the paperwork and background checks, my mind was constantly thinking of signing my new name and of running as far and fast as I could from the old name that carried so much baggage. It wasn’t until I received my new social security card in the mail that I realized this was also a time and space where several weighty things were coming to an end.
I started pondering how to grieve the little girl who bore that old name and all it meant. I spent a few days quietly seeking God’s company as we packed up the young me and prayed for the release of curses that family poured over her. We broke agreements with evil and severed ties to being owned by a family who served it. Finally, I was able to scoop the younger me up and call her mine; she no longer belonged to that wicked family. We walked out a door that God shut behind us with the joy of a new name. I will always know the darkness that happened to me, but it is not allowed to identify me anymore. The end of a story is still part of the story, and it has the power to sway the entire work that has led up to it.
I am continuing to explore the magic of endings, and I have dared to shut the book that tells me I am unwanted or no one will ever want to marry me. The smoldering coals that seduce me to believe I’m better off dead and have no good things to live for have been snuffed out. I have uprooted the belief that I need other people to be okay for me to be okay. With bravery and wonder I am writing endings to the roles of shame and condemnation in my life, and those endings are bursting forth into better beginnings than I ever would have dared to hope.
The things God is speaking over me and showing me about my future were impossible for me to receive when I was still dragging all my things I wanted to fix instead of end.
It seems that my heart needed to learn how to end well before it could hope well.
Honestly, I didn’t even know it was in my power to say no and to put an end to some of the negative and dark things contaminating my life. If you try it, you too will be surprised and set free by how much weight you can unload with a well-placed ending.
Emma Casey is a multifaceted combination of childlike whimsy and battle hardened warrior endeavoring to reclaim the best of both. Living in the remote mountains of Colorado, while she’s tinkering on her motorcycle, playing with her horse, or lounging with her corgi, she’s cautiously exploring the possibility of the restoration of desire and joy. She loves classic literature, all things Disney, and playing games with her family.