On Facebook for the past couple weeks, we’ve seen a mixture of spring images and unexpected snow. Daffodils blooming in spite of the chill, and trees everywhere beginning to bud. Spring is coming even when winter seems reluctant to leave. And this seems to be true of our lives as well. In some places and in some arenas people cling to the past. But the one thing we cannot do is hold time still. Accepting the changes that come with spring: warmer weather, sunshine, flowers, and a fresh new beginning in nature aught to help us to see that change is not always to be feared and avoided. One can’t step through a new door until one closes the one behind you.
Think of all the new beginnings you’ve faced in your lives – some welcome, some joyous, some scary. That first day of kindergarten or nursery school – the day you had to let go of the familiarity of home and meet a whole classroom full of new faces and a new routine. Although my friends today would probably never have guessed it, I clung to my mother’s legs begging her not to leave me. But where would I have been in life, had she not gone and I had not begun my formal education? Leaving for college is another sometimes scary, sometimes eagerly anticipated event. Our first really foray into the world as adults was empowering even while it presented new chances to fail and get hurt. Getting married is nearly always a joyful event. We are in love and excited to become a new little family, leaving the shelter of the one we grew up in. But even here, there are new things to learn and overcome to make marriage and life a success. Every new job we’ve ever embarked on, however fervently sought, had its learning curve, brought its own new challenges and sometimes even failures before we took hold and made the position our own. Having a child changes everything about your life. Now you are totally responsible for another person, one helplessly relying on you for their survival, but once accepted and the challenges faced, parenthood can be one of the greatest achievements in life and bring the greatest of joy and love.
Just growing older doesn’t stop the inevitable changes that life can throw at us. Retirement, aging, failing bodies, loss of friends, loss of the ability to do the things we once did with ease are all changes that we must face. To cling to what cannot remain just keeps us from finding pleasure and joy in what we now have.
I probably don’t have to urge any of you to welcome Spring and anticipate summer, but I’d like you to take a moment and welcome some of the other changes that have come into our lives over the past few months and make the most of them. Instead of weeping for what has passed, embrace what is and give the best that you have in you to make it good.
From Ecclesiastes 3
“For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to reap; 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 seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.”