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All good things mus(n)t come to an end

We live in a culture that anticipates the worst, in part, I guess, because somebody thought Chaucer told us good things can't last.

By Jeryn CambrahPublished 2 years ago 4 min read
All good things mus(n)t come to an end
Photo by Lukas Blazek on Unsplash

You've probably heard the phrase "all good things must come to an end". It's not true.

When Chaucer wrote "But at the laste, as every thing hath ende, She took hir leve, and nedes wolde wende," (a phrase I still don't fully understand, due to my ashamedly limited knowledge of old-timey writing) I'm thinking he meant everything has an end. Naturally speaking, this is probably true. We live, we die, most all things have a beginning and an end. But there are lots of good things that never end.

For example, love. Love doesn't end. Once you've loved a person, you love them forever. A spouse, a child, a parent, a friend. Even if one of you expires, the love doesn't end just because the person isn't there anymore. You don't suddenly stop loving them the moment the ink dries on the divorce papers or the casket closes. You still love them, the love just changes. It morphs. It becomes different. It takes another form. But it doesn't end. You can't erase that once upon a time you held those feelings for that person. Even if you hate them now, the love isn't deleted. Mitigated, certainly. But it's not stricken from the annals of human history. It was there, it happened, and it was real. And it will always be real.

Another example, take Earth. Depending on what religious belief or philosophy you subscribe to, Earth doesn't ever end. It's merely replaced by something new and better. It isn't gone, it's transformed.

Life is the same. Life never truly ends. You pass, but your memory lives on in the mind of someone else. When they pass, they're in someone else's, and so on and so on until there's perpetually something living on this planet, even if it's just a cockroach. And if ever we actually destroy this one, there are billions of other planets and galaxies potentially teeming with life.

I can keep going.

What about food? A good meal is never truly gone. You remember the taste, you savor the flavors. Your body digests it, using the nutrients to fuel you. You expel that energy, it's reabsorbed into the atmosphere, joining millions of other little molecules bouncing around the universe in their job of making things thing. For Heaven's sake, your birthday dinner from last year is probably powering a light bulb in someone's home right now. (I obviously don't know exactly how energy works, but I think I'm on target here.)

Moments. A good moment never ends. It lives on forever in the memories and hearts of those who enjoyed it. Like the little colored balls being spit out constantly from Riley's mind in Pixar's Inside Out, we are constantly manufacturing memories from moments. And what are moments, if not watercolor paint at the tip of a skilled artist's brush? While inside of time the moment is ended by the buzz of a timer or the persistent hands of a clock, the moment itself is endless. It just blends into the next moment, which blends into the next, until the summation of this paint-by-numbers is a portrait of a life of a person who sits on a deathbed and looks back at that moment with fondness. And even after they've gone, left the earth never to be seen or heard from again, that moment still hasn't ended. It plays forever on an infinite loop on the theater screen of time. And if humans ever figure out space and time, we may someday be able to play that moment back at will. Access it whenever we want, and make a whole new moment watching that moment. A loop that never ends.

Love, Earth, life, food, moments...what have I missed? Ah, yes. Time.

Time never ends. Although time as we know it may end, and our time on earth, dictated by diligent ticks on a tock -- I mean, a clock -- though our phones may go the way of the Dodo and our perceptions of time may change, and even if the human race ceases to be...time will still be. (That is, depending on your beliefs). Just because we are not here to observe it, does not mean it stops. And although we may no longer call it "time", eternity will persist. And although the sun may cease to rise and set, still, this void, this voice, this ringing in the heavens will continue. (Unless there are no heavens...but again, depends on your beliefs.) It will continue to sing without us. So, time will always be (or not be), or at the very least, the eternal and infinite will remain. (Because endlessness is, well, endless. By golly.)

So, you see, all good things don't have to end. And expecting them to...waiting for them to...just prevents you from enjoying them right now. I think it's our responsibility, our duty, our challenge, to seize good things. To wrap our hands around their ankles and say, "you shan't leave, you musn't, stay a little longer, please." We live in a culture that anticipates the worst, in part, I guess, because somebody thought Chaucer told us good things can't last.

It's not an automatic that if something's good it must end. In fact, it's the best things that never do.


Is there something good in your life you fear will come to an end? Please share with me. I'd love to hear from you.


About the Creator

Jeryn Cambrah

A neurodivergent writer, content manager, designer, author, poet, and human. Trying to make the world a little bit better -- one word at a time.

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    Jeryn CambrahWritten by Jeryn Cambrah

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