Healthy Leaders


Ending Well

Rick JamesRick James

Last week I had the privilege of sitting in hospital with Joan, a 93 year-old neighbor, in her last days of life. She had a remarkable story. 45 years ago she left her family (including teenage children) to move in with another artist, abandoning her faith along the way. In the last year since her partner died, she rediscovered both her faith and then her family. Despite decades of no contact and obvious hurt, her daughter decided to leave her job and come to live with and care for her mother. Though angry at first, she quickly found she could forgive her. She discovered an unexpected and overwhelming love for her. A couple of months ago at Christmas, Joan met grandchildren and great grandchildren she did not know even existed. This reconciliation has spread further out affecting other broken family relationships.

It was a beautiful example of the power of forgiveness, when conflict is the norm in the world, in our organizations and even churches. Paradoxically, the last months of this elderly lady’s life became life-giving. It showed me the importance of good endings. Endings that bring healing, reconciliation and new life. These probably often involve forgiveness.

This week let’s consider:
What are the upcoming endings in your life or your organization’s?
What might you do to encourage good, life-affirming endings?

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Rick James