I am an in-order completist. When I watch a TV show, I want to watch it from the beginning all the way to the end. The gods of media have been kind to me in this age of binge-watching and streaming video. Sometimes I will get a hankering to watch some specific episode from a show that I have already seen, and after it’s done, I inevitably begin the series again, sometimes from the beginning, sometimes from where I had re-entered the season. What can I say? I like a good story well-told.
The hard part always comes at the end of the series. A good series finale is a powerful thing. Great ones leave you satisfied (30 Rock, for instance), and bad ones leave you wanting to punch a wall (How I Met Your Mother, for example). Sometimes they just leave you wanting more, because the series didn’t actually get to finish (I’m looking at you Firefly…). But however things end, they always leave room for the next thing: a new show, maybe, or maybe just going outside for once, you lazy schlub!
But the most potent endings leave something like an echo or a reverberation that stays with you into whatever it is that’s coming next. So it is as I begin again, leaving the US and the Episcopal Church (at least for a time) to start a DPhil at Oxford this coming fall (or autumn, as I guess I have to start calling it now). One thing ends and another begins.
I began again when I left home for college. Then I began anew when I started my life in the church, going to seminary and into parish life. I began again when I was married, and I begin again now, leaving friends and relationships and the plans that I had had for my future. It would appear that that series is done and a new show is ready to begin.
Perhaps it’s significant that this is starting in Eastertide. It’s the Easter way. Death and endings try to have the final word, but God says, “No. Only life, please,” and begins again undaunted. As we who would follow Christ along the cross’s way face endings that seem final, we are given the assurance that God is not finished yet: there is always more to come. Always we begin again.