The Journey: Noticing the seasons of our lives

Posted by Rev. Daniel Christian on

I was at Schat’s Bakery in Ukiah on Perkins Street this week. My eyes started to burn. A barrage of sneezing followed. An itchy nose was soon on its way and I knew that spring was here.

Something about spring makes us look forward with anticipation. We are hopeful that our challenges, disappointments and maybes will bloom with joy, success and gratitude.

When the colors of spring begin to emerge — sorry to all allergy sufferers — a change of season represents a transition in the year and in our lives. We cross a threshold.

Whenever I cross a threshold or season change in my life, I gravitate toward rereading a passage from the Bible, from the book of Ecclesiastes, chapter 3:1-8. Ecclesiastes invites us to explore deeply our relationship with God and the season of our life. The Bible passage is an opportunity for each of us to be honest in our reflections of our lives.

Most of you know the words of Ecclesiastes from the Pete Seeger song that the Byrds recorded as “Turn! Turn! Turn!” and made an international sensation and rock classic, but like it or not, the lyrics are biblical.

The song, “Turn Turn Turn” may have been turned into a hit in 1965 (check out the video on You Tube), but were written hundreds of years before the birth of Christ.

Seasons are a wise metaphor for the movement of life. Choosing a metaphor that can honestly speak to the depth of the ephemeral nature of human joy and suffering is important. I resist the popular metaphors that reduce all of life to either a game or a battle. Popular as they are, they set up winners and losers. Frankly life is far richer, fulfilling and complex than any game I’ve ever played.

The idea that our life is an eternal cycle of the seasons does not glance over our struggles, joys, heartbreaks and celebrations.

Autumn is a season of beauty and decay. Seeds are scattered and hopes are planted.

Winter: The sky is clear. Trees are bare. Winter brings clarity and the ability to look back upon the landscape of your life.

Spring: Life bursts forth from the quiet of winter! The seeds and hopes of autumn begin to bloom.

Summer: Summer is abundance. Abundance does not just happen overnight.

For our life to grow, we need each of these seasons. We can’t remain in one season forever.

If your life is a season, what season are you in? If you read Ecclesiastes, are you in a season of planting, healing, laughing, mourning, dancing, silence, of love?

The author of Ecclesiastes does not say why things happen at the appropriate time. They just do.

Through the richness and complexity of life we experience every year of our life, the beauty I find in this passage that it begins with BIRTH and ends with PEACE. Subsequently, death and war are reduced to realities that are universal and constant, but neither gets the first nor the last word.

Whatever season you are in? The hand of God holds you through every season of your life.

Have a blessed spring my friends,

Rev. Daniel Christian is the Pastor at First Presbyterian Church of Ukiah