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Friday, July 11, 2014

Times of our lives

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Hi neighbors. As we watch this season of changes we should all take a little time out of our busy lives to reflect on not only the beautiful foliage, but the lessons offered from their beauty.

Looking back on my life I can see a long procession of seasons and the changes that came with them. But the seasons are short compared to our lives.

Many people traditionally lay out the patterns of their lives in seasonal symbols.

While seasons can be only a few weeks long, the "seasons of our lives" can last several decades.

The young person just emerging into independence is often associated as being in the "springtime" of their life.

As they marry, have children, settle into careers, etc. we associate those activities (and our attitude toward them) as being the "summer" of their lives.

Once we have reached someone's notion of the "summit" of our lives, we are ready to sit back, relax and live off of the fruit of our "summertime" labors. This is called the "autumn years" and many people spend all summer looking forward to its arrival. Others see it as the "downhill slide" from their summer work peak.

Winter symbolizes slowing down, hibernating, the wearing down of various parts and patterns; and many see their elders as people in the winter of their lives.

Perhaps you too, have come to realize that over the course of your life the years and decades can be understood better as repeating cycles instead of straight passages through a long-term calendar.

Some of our cycles are very short -- some can last for years.

Even in the time of our lives that some call our "autumn years" we can pass through many cycles -- some representative of our spring season; and others to the summer or even winter seasons.

People have always been aware of changes occurring at all ages in their lives: changes that might not fit the cultural "season" assigned to the chronological time frame they have reached.

Solomon said it best in Ecclesiastes 3 of the King James version of the Bible:

"To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;

A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace."

Of course, these "times" can last months, years or decades in any one person's life. For others, menopausal mothers for instance, the entire cycle can pass by at least once or twice in a single day's time.

As we face stressful times, burdened by work, worry, debt and other personal or family troubles, we just need to hold onto the belief that the path of our lives will eventually cycle around to better days.

Not that we should just sit and watch time pass us by -- but we should take time and look back through not only the seasons of our lives, but the cycles within the seasons and the greater cycles that include several seasons.

Most importantly, we should never accept any person or society's definition of our own seasons and cycles. We are not the lines on our faces nor the color of hair on our heads. We see our lives from the inside out.

Until the next time friends remember as you watch your life pass, be mindful of more than the time passing. Be aware of the times and patterns within the times of your life. Be "now" in your life and know that whatever you are facing, this too shall pass.

Nancy Malcom
The Third Cup