Endings and Beginnings

Some things come to an end. Some things begin.

I was at the United Club at Washington Dulles airport Monday when I glanced at the TV and saw the “breaking news” that Pope Benedict XVI was resigning. That is a revolutionary move for the Roman Catholic Church–and a bold move. But it is also honest. Some corporations require CEOs to retire at 65, thinking that above that a person is too old for the rigors of travel and decision-making required by the position. Benedict is 85. He has huge responsibilities. Hanging on when the body says it’s time to stop just for the sake of tradition seems heartless and selfish.

I am not Catholic, but over the years I have had many interfaces with the church. One year I taught in a Catholic school (English and history to 7th graders), attended Mass with the class twice a week, actually got to play guitar to accompany a Mass once. It was a great experience.

Benedict has a tremendous mind. He is a great theologian. If you want to read something to begin to understand Jesus, read “Jesus of Nazereth” (published when he was Joseph Ratzinger). That is a book that has greatly influenced me.

Henry Cloud’s recent book is “Necessary Endings.” I’ve taken that book to heart, too. Ended one professional relationship so that I could move on to another growth curve personally. Feels great.

Maybe there is something that you need to end–in order to create a new beginning. Maybe a destructive or unproductive habit. Maybe a career. Maybe a relationship.

A traditional Catholic told me this week, “But the Pope is ‘God on Earth.’ How can he just stop?” Since I’m not in the tradition, I have no answer. But I think the so-called conservative (how he was described in popular media when he was elected) proved to be pretty revolutionary. I have all the respect I can muster for him.

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