A PAUSE ABOUT THE MAKING, GIVING, AND TAKING OF TIME. WEEK TWO. A RIGHT TIME FOR EVERYTHING.
Eugene Peterson’s The Message has a great opening sentence for Ecclesiastes 3:
“There’s an opportune time to do things, a right time for everything on the earth.”
As we witness the onset of autumn, I reflect upon the seasons of life, the transitions I experience, and the constancy of those seasons as well as the transitions before, during, and after all pinnacle points of my becoming and creating. My inspiration for this pause is the third chapter of Ecclesiastes, and the way that scripture plays out in my head and heart during every chapter of my life. This pause is also inspired by my day to day experience with my #1 husband, my forever life witness for 40 years.
“A right time for birth and another for death,”
–“So, what makes something ‘right’?” I ask. We are born and we will die. Do I have a say in this process? Post Life is defined as the dash between the birthdate and the death date on a gravestone. The in-between is the big thing, the place I am gifted the time in this body to grow, create, experience, savor, accept and learn to love all that I choose in this body; only limited by the dash between the dates, a.k.a., TIME. Did I choose to be born into this body? Did I have a vision and intention before I incarnated? Perhaps, questions for another time, a time that is “right” for inquiry and discernment; maybe not this pause, but the seed for another, perhaps?
“A right time to plant and another to reap,”
Fall is the time of harvest. As I inhale deeply the smell of autumn’s settling into its time of glory, I am reminded that as a 60-year-old, I, too, am breathing into this new decade thing with rapid transitions and changing colors. What I have planted in the early years of my life is now up for harvest. I plant new seeds each springtime of every year. Now is the time for awe, wonder, miracles, the crops to be brought in, a time to give thanks.
My husband and I were married in the spring years of our lives, our early 20s. We were deeply in love and dreamed big dreams with passionate feelings about our every day and our tomorrows. The world was our oyster. We followed our dreams, birthed a family, created our identities together as the Roth family. We worked hard to bring our best selves to our endeavors, hoping our energy would be rewarded for the highest good. We hoped we could do our best to be our best for our sons and their futures, and that our lives could be abundant with good, love and possibility.
“A right time to kill and another to heal,”
Sometimes the things we believe are important, really aren’t. Status, Fame, Wealth, Recognition…all of those things come and go. When ego becomes paramount, it is time to subdue the wants and desires, to let them die and begin again. Often, destruction, death, illness, loss bring some amazing lessons because they kill the weeds that threaten to consume us. In our late thirties, the important things transitioned into the necessary things when I was diagnosed with leukemia. My diagnosis impacted the Roth family: marriage, sons, finances, values. It was an ongoing tumultuous transition as we discerned what to kill and how to heal.
“A right time to destroy and another to construct,”
“Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.” The lyrics to this inspiring song often lead me to necessary losses. If I find the time to create the peace I seek, I often need to destroy false hopes, assumptions, limiting beliefs in order to begin again, to construct a new context from which to operate, a new dream, a new vision. Gerry and I have experienced marital challenges during the transitions, peaks, and valleys of our marriage, especially prevalent during my 15 years with a leukemia diagnosis. It was necessary to build new relationship visions frequently over the years to experience the peace I sought to experience in our relationship.
“A right time to cry and another to laugh,”
Time brings healing that requires tears, laughter, and blessing. We get to embrace how life is often sad and at the same time, it’s often funny. Moment to moment choices grace the times of change in our lives, every season. Every place we go, we are invited to feel what we feel and reveal ourselves to those around us so we can share, heal and create lifelines for each other. I live on the edge of tears and laughter. I would never choose to maneuver my life any other way.
Ecclesiastes 3 continues in the same vein for its total of 22 verses. I briefly thought about continuing with all of the right time stuff (particularly because I wanted to point out 7b:” A right time to shut up and another to speak up,”.). I like to be “right!”😉
A bone of contention: Yesterday, Gerry asked me a question to answer while he focused on his morning coffee and newspaper. I answered his question, and then I proceeded to discuss and ask him a question. He replied, “I am busy and don’t have time to talk right now”. Perhaps the autumn of our lives brings this kind of disregarding bluntness—Where did springtime go? Seriously, the learning of our lives brings us recognition that there is a right time for everything, and we get to learn our methodology for addressing time and those with whom we share it as we age and grow.
The author of Ecclesiastes (Was it truly the wise king, Solomon, I wonder?) closes this chapter by telling us what we already know: We will all die. We don’t know for sure what happens when we die until we die. There’s probably nothing better for us to do than to have a good time in whatever we choose to do. We don’t know what we don’t know. Sounds like…
A “right” time for everything.