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You’re never going to be truly filled with joy unless you truly know yourself for who you are, and until you are a real sinner with a real savior, you will be a hypothetical and theoretical sinner with a hypothetical and theoretical savior. — Derek Webb

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Josh has an incredible heart for God and is passionate about helping create environments that lead people to experience God.  He has tremendous gifts that enable him to help churches advance the Kingdom of God.

How Should We Respond To Awesome’s Ending?

Written by Josh Collins. Posted in Experience

Photo Credit: Silence à gogo via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Silence à gogo via Compfight cc

“All good things got to come to an end

The thrills have to fade

Before they come ’round again

The bills will be paid

And the pleasure will mend

All good things got to come to an end”

At least that’s how Jackson Browne puts it. Quite beautifully, I might add.

And he’s right too. Life is short. One moment we’re here, the next moment we’re not. One moment we’re holding babies in our arms, in my case, the palms of my hands practically, the next we are sending them off to school and on and on. We say things like remember when, and collect and stare at old photos, wishing we could go back in time.

Regardless of the many differences we have, the one thing we all have in common, the one thing that unites us all is, we will, with certainty, all have to account for the brevity of life.

I feel as though I should apologize for the heaviness of this post, but unfortunately worlds seem to be colliding for me as of late. You see one of my dear friends has recently lost his wife after a very long battle with MS, and within a few days another dear friend suffered the passing of a father. As if that were not enough, the frailty of my own father has been once again brutally brought to the surface. His time of creating awesome experiences and impacting the world around him is coming to an end.

I’ve known it for a while. My whole family has actually. It’s no secret. Whether it’s the Dementia, Parkinson’s, Shingles, Arthritis, or any of the many broken and crushed bones having never fully healed through out his life, they all are contributing to the inevitable.

To say this is difficult would be the grossest of understatements.

Words just don’t do justice sometimes.

This is one of those times.

But it’s forcing me to ask yet another hard question of myself. How am I going to respond to Awesome’s Ending?

Have you ever thought of it that way?

That awesome does in fact have an ending. It’s both bitterly painful and abundantly joyful. All at the same time.

I’m reminded of Amy Grant’s words about the passing of her mother, and her father’s battle with dementia. She describes it as the last great lesson we’ll ever learn from our parents.

Wow!

Those words bring me to tears, just writing them.

And those of you like Cliff and Norm of Cheers, who are regulars to Creating the Awesome, have heard me say this often, but to those who are not, one thing you’ll find is that I never claim to know all the answers. To do so would simply be arrogant and wrong. There are roughly 164 million other blogs out there, all proudly proclaiming that they single-handedly have the answers you seek and need. That their products and their services are the best because they are the best.

Well, sorry, but this isn’t one of those.

And while there are many things I can speak to as an expert, some which, undoubtedly, would help meet a need or solve a problem, I’ve found that I’d much rather participate in the journey with you.

I believe that’s where true beauty is found, where authentic healing is received and where awesome is really created.

Did you catch the power of that word, with?

So this is where you come in.

We’ve all dealt with loss somehow, whether that’s a parent, a child, a sibling, a friend, pet, or any other version of a loved one.

And with what I know to be certain of the future, I’d very much love to hear your stories of how you responded to awesome’s ending.

Were there things that you wish you would or could have done? Said?

What are the things you are grateful for that you were able to do and say?

I quote Frederick Buechner a lot, probably too much to be honest, but in this case, once again, he gives us a beautiful glimpse of glory. He writes in Telling Secrets, “My story is important not because it is mine, God knows, but because if I tell it anything like right, the chances are you will recognize that in many ways it is also yours.”

That is why I ask the questions above.

Would you bless us all by sharing below?

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Josh Collins

Josh Collins is a Communicator and Experience Architect who lives in Franklin, Tn. His passion is to create awesome experiences that change the way we engage audiences and help you do the same.
  • Eileen

    Great post! I think many folks shy away from discussing this topic and yet it is one thing we all have in common. I tend to talk about it a lot maybe because of the loss of mom when I was a teen and I want people to be encouraged that there is hope. I am gratefu that I was able to be with my mom as she journeyed from one awesome to the next!

  • Susan Heiser

    I lost my mom a year and a half ago, after five years of declining health. The last few years I became pretty much her whole world, as she wasn’t able to get out much. I went by almost every night after work, and every weekend. Sometimes I was so tired, and I resented it a little, but I was careful never to let that show, and it wasn’t often. Mostly I remembered all the years she cared for me, raised me and watched over me. Now that she’s gone a day doesn’t go by that I don’t miss her, and I am so, so very grateful — often grateful to the point of tears — that I had those years with her, to give back a little of what she gave me, to be her best friend and be with her in her good days and her bad days. The days and weeks and months and years seemed long at the time, and now, oh now I see they went by so fast. I wish I had more of them. Thank you for this post. God bless you in this time. It’s hard, but every day is so precious.

  • http://www.kimulmanis.com/ Kim

    I haven’t faced death in a way that impacts me deeply but I have experienced loss in other ways. My relationship with my father came to a bitter end last September. He was cruel, negative and entirely unsupportive of me. He disrespected me in my own home after my husband and I graciously took him in. I’ve since learned to accept he is simply an angry, insecure and miserable person who cannot see the good in life. And despite his poisonous words towards me, I still care about him. I cannot explain why. It’s hard to not have my father around any longer not knowing if he is alive but it is for the best. The toxic words simply have no place in my home and I do not wish to be around someone so negative. It sucks but that’s how it has to be.

    • http://thejoshcollins.com/ Josh Collins

      Kim, thanks so much for your words and for sharing them with me. They are treasured!

  • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

    Such an important question and lesson to learn. Great Buechner quote, Josh. Thanks for sharing your story. I recognize pieces of my own in it.

    • http://thejoshcollins.com/ Josh Collins

      Thanks Jeff!

Posted on: May 16, 2013

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Franklin, TN
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