Mar 2 • 10M

The Importance of The End

How Ending a Game can Teach us about the Finale of Life.

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Episode details

Game Over

The saddest words I could hear as a child. I only wanted the game to continue. To some extent, when a game comes to an end, even as an adult, I still feel sad. Why is the end so sad?

I thought the word finish and finite are of the same root. Then, I thought of my childhood soccer games and how important it was for me (a polite young man) to know exactly where the dry chalk line ran along the soccer field, creating a perimeter in which we were allowed to kick and huddle around a ball. In other words, I knew exactly where lay the “out of bounds” realm of the game. Outside that line, the game didn’t exist; that’s where the parents and coaches yelled and cheered. But no one was playing.

The Finish - the boundary of life. Anything beyond it is out of regulation for you to live.

My most recent podcast is about endings and it got me thinking.

I have worked as a hospice nurse for 12 years. Many times I have held vigil at the bedside of a loved one and their bereaved and helped them finish life well. I helped with medications and positioning to relieve suffering and pain, and other times I listened to them release soul pain and unforgiveness, for that too, relieves suffering. Over the years, I have paid great attention to how people finish their lives. I have also noticed how the bereaved finish the relationships as their loved one dies. Tears shed. Stomach ache. For all this loss, there is a risk for becoming indignant and crying “life isn’t fair” or that someone made a bad call in a game, and so, therefore, I am suffering for this end. In a way, because of death, every ending in life can be really devastating.

Game Over

But think of a soccer field boundary line. Upon one side, I am playing the game. I stay within that perimeter if I want to play. However, beyond that perimeter is my coach, my parents and other teammates. Some of those teammates are injured and have shed their cleats and shin guards, while others broke a major rule and now support the team through their offside presence. To say that all of those do no participate in the game is ridiculous, for many of them may have played the game before, funded the expedition, or even taught me how to play. But as an active player, I cannot cross over the boundary line - not yet - until the game is over, or at least my part in the game comes to a finish.


Regarding games and life, I risk finishing poorly once I believe I am slighted from winning. Even with fair rulings, it can be hard to lose a loved one or even a game. However, that is exactly the thinking I want to relieve myself from. I never LOST anything. I finished it.

After wandering with me in the garden of my mind, I now turn my attention to you. Harmful forces in the world wish for you and me to believe that God is holding out on us. And that somehow, there is simply not enough resource in life for us to experience love and happiness. To relieve ourselves of this harmful thinking, recognize that death, the principle boundary in life is there to remind us of the truth:

The Story Continues.

While playing soccer, or games of dice, I know that eventually, the game will close. We pack up and go home. The same is true for life, though it provides a bit more anxiety. I remind myself that finishing a life implies that some part of me has crossed over the boundary of time and space and therefore, there exists life beyond us now. I have pondered these thoughts while sitting at the bedside of the deceased.

Should I say deceased? I mean to say, the finisher.

May your story continue.