It happens quietly. The days turn to weeks, weeks to months, months to years. I usually speak mid-season evaluating the feelings therein, then the season has passed. The firsts are usually celebrated. Sometimes the lasts, but not usually. I don’t always sense the lasts until they are a memory

I recently found myself in the midst of a post-last conversation. I was talking with a friend about something new-momish— and her response signaled that I am no longer a part of that division of motherhood. Apparently, I have moved past that already. Have I? I think she is right! I felt a little sad. The season ended without my knowledge and especially not my permission! Had I known, I would have done something to extend the time into a more indelible memory. My mom, another gal well versed in lasts, says there is a book that voices this sentiment. Even this morning, I read of a different mom, feeling the weight of lasts voiced the same thought in a beautiful way. I am not the first.

I am sure that on the last days, I did not know them from others. The significance was lost in the excitement of what would come, the business of what is current, or in the stillness of the work behind me. The fact they were comes later when something causes me to remember when. Then, it hits me. Sometimes the realization is sweet— and sometimes, it stings.

The last gaze out my childhood window.

The last figure eight on my bike in the backyard.

The last time we were together, sharing dreams and making plans.

The last drive away.

The last time I was called by my unmarried name.

The last time we went to a restaurant together as a family of two.

The last hiccups, felt some inexplicable place in my belly.

The last grasp of my finger with that tiny hand.

The last time he slipped into our bed in the middle of the night.

The last time she called me “Ma-ma”.

The last time he rested his head on my shoulder, arms and legs draped at my sides.

The last walk out of that room.

The last conversation this side of eternity.

I am sure, the lasts shape me. There are some moments I feel ~somewhat~ satisfied when something has ended. But I almost always I wished I would have done {blank}, and I am left feeling unresolved.  Usually, sadness is a signal. But I can’t go back. I cannot relive parts of history. There are chapters that are closed.

Mixed into the sadness is joy. The new movie, Inside Out, is brilliant in painting a picture of our maturing natures and the complexities of how experiences shape us. Micah and I took the kids to see this one, but it was really for the adults.

The theme was profound. Most of life is a mix. I don’t have many (maybe any?) memories that are purely joyful. Even the most joyful are lacking in something, especially within the expanse of all of life. It may sound depressing, but ironically, the more I am okay with this realization, the more joy seems accessible at any given moment. When the pressure is off to have any part of this life experience ultimate, the joys taste a little sweeter.

The Bible speaks of many lasts. Our lives are full of them. There will be finality for us all. More lasts are approaching. I think it is one way God has set eternity in our hearts. Augustine calls it restlessness. Others speak of it as well.

Someone calls Himself the First and the Last, the Alpha and Omega, Lord of Eternity, the Beginning and End, Who Was, and Is, and Is to Come. Regardless of the direct implications of His name, all things unresolved will find completion in Him that will be perfectly satisfying. As life brings me moments to reflect on my allotted portion of lasts, I ask for continued faith to believe that what (or rather Whois to come will be even better than my best joys and repent of searching out ways to hold on to hope here. Like John in Revelation, one day I will worship in light of Unending Love. And for the sadness, in His presence, all that is sad will come untrue. And all the joys, will be made fully and wholly complete.

This is not the end. These are not really the lasts. Lord I believe, help my unbelief.

Thank God.