Changing seasons of life
The Rev. Kathy Brumbaugh, Special Writer
Background text: 2 Chronicles 1:7-12
Devotional text: Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
Just as there are seasons to the year, we also go through seasons in our lives. Of course, not all areas go through the same seasonal changes. However, using a typical northeastern year, there is spring, summer, fall and winter.
Using the seasons as analogous to our lives, we can view them in terms of birth, growth, maturity and old age. Let’s look at the seasons as they represent our lives.
Spring reminds us of new life, new birth and growth from tiny seedlings to flowers and plants of all kinds. Trees start budding and soon sprout the light shades of green indicative of early spring. Slowly, we begin to see birds return to enchant us with their morning song. Temperatures warm up, and what once was snow has become spring rain. It’s time for working outside, for cultivating, for planting.
The springtime of our lives are the same. We are born. We grow into toddlers, learning about the world around us. Everything is new. We start out as seedlings, helpless babies, and grow into little ones toddling about our world, as we focus on the wonders of every day living.
Summer is a time when the work in the fields must go on, as produce is ready for market. The time of summer is when we see the many variety of colors in plants and flowers and even in the many shades of green displayed by the full trees.
Birds are building nests and having their own young ones to feed and nurture. We see the many kinds of wildlife eating at the edge of field and forest. The world is alive with God’s creation.
In the summer of our lives, we have grown into young people. We have gone to school; we have graduated; we have learned some of life’s lessons along the way. We are learning about what life is all about and where we fit in it.
We discover who we are, what we are good at, what special gifts and talents give us enjoyment. Do we share our special gifts as a career or a hobby? As we grow toward maturity, we have opportunities to grow in knowledge and wisdom.
When fall opens the way to cooler nights and the leaves begin to change into brilliant colors of orange, yellow and red, God instills this season with preparation. We gather in produce to prepare for winter months. The creatures of the forest fill their habitats with various edible items to eat and stuffing from nature to keep them warm and dry. Hay is taken in, corn fills the silos and the sun sinks lower in the sky.
This season of our lives finds us a bit older. We have jobs to go to. We marry and have children to raise (or not). There is a steadiness to our lives, a stability that helps us prepare for our futures. We find that life is full of both ups and downs (although these can happen throughout our lives).
We have more interest in our health care, including self-care. Sometimes, we find ourselves in the role of caretaker for our parents or others. We use what we have learned in life to prepare for our future as we grow old.
Winter’s blast sometimes visits us sooner than expected and stays later than we hope. Yet, winter holds its own wonder and awe as its snow and blizzards can turn a bleak frigid day filled with dark bare branches reaching toward the sky into a white and fluffy winter wonderland.
The winter of our lives reminds us of the snow. Our hair, once colorful like the leaves on the trees of fall, has now turned white. We are older. Some would call us old, but that is just an age-thing, not a bad thing.
We may get to the point where we are walking slower, not traveling much. However, at the same time, we are retired from our jobs and have more free time to do those things we most enjoy, for as long as we can.
More health issues may arise. Sometimes we need extra care. At the same time, we have the opportunity to look back on our lives and think about the many things we have learned in life. We can now pass that knowledge and wisdom on to a younger generation. We can also remember all of the good times and cherish our happy memories, sharing them as well.
At last, we come to the end of our life, moving on to our eternal home in heaven. And life, in its seasons of change, begins anew with spring.
With all of this, I am leading up to a book in the Old Testament called Ecclesiastes. Written by King David’s son, King Solomon, toward the latter part of his life, Ecclesiastes is Solomon’s review of his life in which he looks to discover life’s true meaning.
Solomon’s most widely known scripture is found in Ecclesiastes 3:1-8. Many are familiar with it as it is used sometimes in funerals. It even became the topic of a popular song hit by The Byrds in 1965 (though it was written by Pete Seeger in the 1950s). The title of the song is “Turn, Turn, Turn” and is still well-remembered today.
In King Solomon’s writings, these words are subtitled “A Time for Everything.”
Let’s see what they have to say:
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven, a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.”
As we study Solomon’s words this week, think about what meaning they may have for your own life’s journey.
Next week, we will continue with the words of Solomon.