The End Is Where We Start From

Gates of Heaven

In “Little Gidding” from The Four Quartets, T. S. Eliot writes:

What we call the beginning is often the end
And to make an end is to make a beginning.
The end is where we start from. 

Today marks the end of the year. Some might say it’s the end of an era.  Others might even go so far as to speculate that we’re looking down a long dark tunnel to the end of Life as We Know It.


But maybe, just maybe, it’s also the opportunity for a new beginning. A do-over. A chance to start again.

The end is where we start from.

God knows we need a fresh start. For many people, the year 2016 has represented one long slide toward the oblivion of anything remotely resembling humanity. It’s been a year marked by mean-spirited ugliness, if not downright hatred.  It’s been a year of divisiveness and dualism, of us and them, of vulgarity and general nastiness, spewed across the Internet without remorse, all in the name of “telling it like it is.” It’s been a year which brought to the surface a simmering brew of racism, misogyny, homophobia, and general outrage that has been only thinly veiled from sight in the past eight years.

This past year has called out the worst in a lot of us. But perhaps it can serve to call out the best as well.

This one thing I know:  The government is not going to save us. Any government. The church is not going to save us. Any church. It’s up to us, individually, to begin to funnel life and light back into the world. It’s up to us to bring loving energy to bear in a world that seems intent upon its own destruction. It’s up to us to live in grace and gratitude, to share what we have, to take responsibility for our own state of mind and heart, and for the welfare of those who have less than we do. It’s up to us to reflect the Divine Image into the world, to carry that holy spark into dark places. It’s up to us to resist the hatred and malice, the entitlement and patriarchy. It’s up to us to model inclusivity and humility, hope and justice. It’s up to us to be the Incarnation we seek.

There is no one else. We are God’s hands and feet. We are God’s heart.

It’s up to us.


New Year’s Eve, 2016

Blessed are those who know
that the end and the beginning
are one,
who stand at the Still Point
and wait.

Blessed are those who know
that the seeds of our destiny
ride on our first wailing breath,
and a universe is opened
at our final exhalation.

Blessed are those who suspect
that death
is a myth,
and birth
is no real beginning,
only the seamless
liminal space
where world
touches world
and souls move
across an unseen threshold.

Blessed are those who know
that there is no starting point
and no great finish,
no winners or losers,
no fear or despair,
only one blazing hope;
only the now
of love and longing,
only the space between the stars
where hearts reach out
across a vast, void chaos.

Blessed are those who know,
and who let themselves be known,
for there are many paths,
in truth,
and all of them
lead home.

©2016 Penelope J. Stokes


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3 Responses to The End Is Where We Start From

  1. Maren says:

    Thank you so much for these words, Penny. May I re-blog it onto my own Gifts in Open Hands page?

  2. Maren says:

    Reblogged this on Gifts in Open Hands and commented:
    For all of our New Years from friend Penny Stokes, living now in Ecuador.

  3. lovely and thoughtful. thanks again penny. we must join together soon and get our own something going? game?

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