“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what 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 seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to tear, 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 for war, and a time for peace.”
This verse has become very real to me recently.
The word seasons hits me first, as we are currently missing out on the cool winds, warm colors, bright leaves, and chilly rains of autumn. It’s all wonderful, from the pumpkins and soups and scarves. And cardis! And this only followed by the beauty of winter, when everything turns so gray and cozy. The knitting, jackets, warm fires.
We need none of that here.
I keep hearing good reports of the cool season coming our way, but needing a sweater at night just isn’t the same as needing two shirts, a cardigan, a coat, and scarf to walk out the door. It also isn’t the same when I’m still wearing a tank top while I cook dinner in the most humid kitchen you could fathom in your head.
But I guess seasons go far beyond that. We are also in a season of rest.
With Chris & Jenn here, we’ve been enjoying some time off. It’s been a wonderful blessing to pull back from it all and reconsider. Stephen and I have been slowly working our way through The Rest of God by Mark Buchanan for the past few months, where he discusses Sabbath rest. It has really challenged me to actually rest and find pleasure in new ways. I’ve found myself seeking out rest–and ultimately beauty and thankfulness–in unexpected places.
In this, I began to see this next phase of our lives as a little bit of a Sabbatical. This might be a little generous, as we’re going to be working once Chris & Jenn leave, and we’ll be traveling to about six locations along the border before journeying to the other side of the globe for the holidays. Maybe not obviously restful. But all the same, we have a chance to re-experience Thailand with family; to take a break from teams and see Partners from a new perspective; to reunite with family.
Its a new perspective, pushing us to look toward thankfulness.
We’re also learning that seasons change, and we’re having to just roll with the punches. This has been true in every way. We never thought we’d be going home at Christmas after just eleven months here. We never thought we’d be mourning with family, as we deal with health problems around the world.
At risk of adding to Scripture, it’s beginning to mean to me that there is a time to save and a time to spend; there is a time to work hard and a time to contemplate rest; there is a time to Skype and a time to fly home; there is a time to eat rice and a time to savor a sandwich.
(And yes, I did just choose sandwich there. I miss good sandwiches.)
“A time to mourn, and a time to dance” has become more real to me with each day. The mourning has sunk deeper, and the dancing has risen up with an appreciated grace.
But I suppose, as I read over these, many are striking me closer than they ever have before. And I suppose it’s the season I’m in.