An ending can be either good or bad. There are excellent novels that held my attention and moved me for hundreds of pages only to end in a way that made me regret reading the story. Sadly, the same can be said of many “good” lives. It is not enough to live well and serve humanity, care for your family, and lead an honest life. A good ending involves much more than taking a moral point or teaching a lesson. And a good ending is more than the resolution of the tragedy and tension of an exciting plot.

A good ending doesn’t have to be safe or nice. It only has to bring the story to fullness. It is not much different from dessert. An excellent meal, wonderfully prepared and served, is often followed by the least necessary part—dessert. Dessert is often highly caloric and nutritionally bereft. Dessert is the finish, the final indulgence—as is any good ending to a life. Endings are meant to be a sensual, wild fullness of all that came before.

And, as you think of endings, its important to understand that they have little to do with one’s actual death…

The ending of my story is how I lived my life toward an aim, a finish that is worth both dying for and living for. If I live my life for me alone, then my story is as dull as my self-absorption, even if I have survived untold adventures. But if I live my life for Someone more important than myself and I have sacrificed, nobly risked, been humbled, learned, grown, and given, then my life is headed toward a glorious ending.

Dan B. Allender, To Be Told: Know Your Story, Shape Your Future, Waterbrook Press, 2005.

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