To everything there is a season
- Written by Nancy Williams, LPC
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: 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 from embracing, 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” (Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8, NIV). I’ve read this passage in the Bible many times. Perhaps it’s familiar to you, too, as we all deal with changing seasons of life. Lately I’ve found myself and people I love moving through significant times of change: Turning points. Some are filled with joy, others cloaked in grief. Some are anticipated, others unexpected. Some are subtle, others significant. Some bring answers and direction, others raise questions and uncertainties. Typically, we tend to focus on establishing routine and finding security in the structure we create. Once expectations are set, we assume life will continue on course, just as planned. However, the reality of change is all around us. We see it in our families and communities, in the workplace and in nature, and when we look in the mirror. Like it or not, ready or not, change is a continual part of life. It may be as simple as a change in appearance, or as drastic as the death of a spouse. A new relationship, new job, new home, or significant birthday. An empty nest, retirement, divorce, aging parents, or illness. A new responsibility or the close of an opportunity. There are beginnings and then there are endings, followed by times of transition that usher in new beginnings. I’m experiencing some of those turning points currently with new opportunities and new challenges. Perhaps you are as well. When we anticipate life shifts, we can begin to prepare. We organize ourselves, our lives, and our belongings, as we bid farewell to one season of life and embrace something new. We establish goals and develop a plan to approach the opportunities waiting for us as we move ahead. There are other times, however, when changes come unexpectedly. We are traveling our journey, assuming we know where the next steps will lead when suddenly we find ourselves at a turning point. We come face to face with change we may or may not want as we realize life will not be quite the same again. I spent time with friends recently as we shared stories of losses and gains that come with life changes. One just became a grandmother and another is grieving the loss of a spouse. One spoke about freedom that comes with downsizing while another shared her fears about retirement. We celebrated a new career opportunity but mourned that it will require a move away. We shared concerns about our children and our parents, then laughed about the changes that come with our own aging. Our life stories are unique, yet our needs are the same as we transition from one season to another: time to mourn, time to heal, time to prepare, time to establish a new “normal,” time to count our blessings, and time with those who love and support us. We acknowledged that our attitude impacts how we move from season to season. And we affirmed that while we may not know what lies ahead for us as changes come, we do know that God has promised to walk along side us with his love and grace, his guidance and provision. As you move through your own life changes and transition from season to season, may you find peaceful closure on the past, hope for the future, and joy in the journey. Nancy Williams is a licensed professional counselor, life coach, speaker, and author of “Secrets to Parenting Your Adult Child” (Bethany House, 2011). Send comments to her at www.nancywilliams.net.