Growing up on an island has limited my exposure to seasonal change. The knowledge I have about seasons has been gleaned from pictures, films, and the occasional visit to a different state or country. I suppose I have a fairly romanticized opinion about seasons: baby birds chirping and tulips pushing through the thawing ground in the spring; Norman Rockwell’s county fairs, watermelon, and lounging by lakes or pools during summer; pumpkin patches and gloriously colored leaves of fall; Thomas Kinkade’s sleigh bells, twinkling lights, and icicles that depict winter. Needless to say, I have to consciously remind myself that seasons are a part of life. What makes a season a season?
A season is temporary. We consider it abnormal if a season lasts longer than it’s allotted quarter of the year. We appreciate the seasons because we know they are not going to last forever and a bit of change is always nice. Tell me about it! Thunderstorms are celebrated on my island because they are a luxurious break from the monotony of continual sun!
A season encourages growth. Each of our four seasons is linked to the one before it and the one after it. We need the snow and ice of winter to kill the pests that thrive in warmth; the showers of spring water the tender sprouts that are pushing through the softening ground; summer is a time of relaxation and maturation after the rapid growing of the season before; fall is a time to harvest the matured fruit and prepare for the rest that comes in winter.
A season offers opportunity. We enjoy the diversity of activities and holidays that come with each season. One certainly cannot go sledding in summer or apple-picking in spring! And unless you come to my island, you cannot go surfing on Christmas Day! Lazing around is an almost-accepted luxury of summer and there are certain flowers that can only be plucked in the spring. Try as we might, we cannot do every activity and celebrate every holiday all in one season. There is a time for everything.
And so it is with the seasons of the human journey. Our lives are in a continuous state of seasonal change that provide growth and offer opportunity. That renowned passage of Ecclesiastes 3 is beginning to imprint itself on my heart:
There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
2 a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
6 a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8 a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
I am finally beginning to embrace the beauty of seasons in my life. For the nearly three years of my marriage and two years of motherhood, I have been trying to do it all – everything I did when I was single, everything I am called to do as a homemaker, everything I desire to do as a mom, and plan for everything that I might do in the future. I have been trying to live an entire year’s worth of seasons all at once and, believe it or not, it is impossible for the obvious reasons.
God is so good! The season of singleness is in the past; I can bid it adieu, knowing that I lived it to its fullest. The season of marriage is here; I can give it a warm kiss of welcome, praying that it will last until the day I die. The season of motherhood is intertwined with that of being a wife; I can hold it closely now for I know that this will be the season that will change the most. For the time being, my babies are all about me; I am their nurturer, rescuer, and translator. They need me for everything and as exhausting as that might be, I know that it will be passed before I am ready. Motherhood is comprised of seasons within a season; I pray that Jesus will help me to treasure each one.
The book I plan to write, the languages I wish to learn, the volunteer work I would like to support, the ministries with which I hope to serve, the long conversations with friends that I long to have, the places I would like to visit…well, all of that and more are on my list for tomorrow’s tomorrow. Their season will come in time. Today is good, and I am going to live it with all of my heart.