I read an article somewhere with the title, “What is it about Toy Story 3 that makes grown men cry?” The movie had just come out and was getting plenty of accolades. I went and watched it with the title in mind.
It’s true. A pixelated cartoon made me cry. At its core, the movie was about letting go and moving on. Specifically, letting go of childhood and moving on to the adult world. Andy, the main character, was packing up his life and moving on to college.
There is a scene where Andy’s mom is standing in his now empty room. The wallpaper with clouds is now devoid of posters. His toys have all been packed up. She stands there for a moment and realizes the pain of letting go. I cried. I just dropped my son off at college. There is the bittersweet moment of letting someone we love move out of childhood and into adulthood.
I stood in my son’s now empty room. Some shoes of his are there, and some shirts are hanging in the closet. Remnants of his life at home. I cried. Those tears contained both sadness and joy. I have to let him go into his newfound life outside of his childhood home.
That’s the thing about endings. They are relay stations to the next moment in life. They move us forward into new beginnings. If we let them, they help grow us up and move us on.
How about you? How have you responded to endings in life? What did you learn from them?