I’ve been ruminating, somewhat stuck, on the wise words of Ecclesiastes 3.
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.
What gain has the worker from his toil? I have seen the business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with. He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil–this is God’s gift to man.
I perceived that whatever God does endures forever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it. God has done it, so that people fear before him. That which is, already has been; that which is to be, already has been; and God seeks what has been driven away.
It’s been a season of keeping silence. Silence here, in written word; somewhat silence between friends and family; sometimes even Stephen & I. I’m a bit out of words. Or perhaps they just don’t seem to be helping.
It’s been a season of healing, literally. I’ve faced a number of random physical ailments, one after another since July, from dengue fever to dog bites that become infected and full rounds of rabies vaccinations; rashes and ear infections; to lymph node infections that become abscessed and require surgery.
And while said surgery was done well, kept clean, and an overall good experience here in this lovely little border town, it was painful. It seems they are still working on lidocaine usage, and when asked if it was painful, our conversation went like this, as he was cutting,
“I think no pain. Just fear.”
“Yes, pain. Sharp pain. SHARP PAIN. VERY SHARP PAIN.”
By the time I got home, my entire arm was numb, and the left side of my face. My face stayed a bit numb for 48 hours. So, y’know. There was healing needed.
There’s been mourning. Mourning for the pace of our adoption, for the suffering of the community around us, for the unknowns of the season ahead. Mourning for hunger and sickness and abuse and poverty. Mourning for our host country, which also mourns deeply, fears deeply.
There has been so much planting. Sometimes it feels like we spend every day planting tiny little seeds and hoping, hoping, hoping that something falls on good soil.
There’s been seeking: for dancing, for laughter, for peace.
And as we look to adopt, or not; as we look to stay in this community, or find them all returning to their home country; as we look to new seasons…whatever God does endures forever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it.
And in all my questions…he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.
And as we look forward: there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil–this is God’s gift to man.
Seeking to find pleasure in this again. In the many loaves of baked bread, in the many bouquets of flowers, in the many conversations over breakfast and a game of Sorry, in the many vulnerable children, in the many sicknesses, in the many drunken brawls: to find pleasure in all the toil. To be joyful. To do good.
To walk humbly, to love mercy, and to act justly, in all seasons.