“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens”
Last week a friend of mine sent me some words of wisdom from her daily devotional. She was thinking about me, and my upcoming appointment with the doctor, and thought I might need to hear them. One of the points said simply, “A time for everything, and everything in its time”. As the words came across the screen I was suddenly back in the 1980s. No, I wasn’t standing at a New Kids on the Block concert in my Jams and a Care Bears t-shirt. I was on the floor of my sister’s room listening to Terry Jack’s sanguine tribute to life and death spinning around on her record player. “We had joy, we had fun, we had seasons in the sun, but the wine and the song, like the seasons have all gone…”
We’ve all had one of those fleeting moments, right? A memory that creeps into your head, seemingly out of nowhere, and encapsulates you. A smell, or a sound, or a phrase that sparks such strong emotion that you wish you could reach out and touch it with your hands. A memory so engrained in a particular season of life, one that you know you can’t get to, that its nostalgia (though tarnished from the messiness of life) still has an immeasurable power over you. It makes you yearn for a different time and place. That is what happened to me when I read that message. And that nostalgic feeling has followed me around since.
Thursday afternoon I was naked from the waist down on an x-ray table. Four doctors watched a screen as they injected dye into my you-know-what with what I suspected was a light saber. But there I was, calm, quiet, mesmerized by that memory.
Thursday evening my husband called to tell me he was going to Urgent Care because he had been having chest pains and wanted to get checked out. I wanted to scream at him. Tell him he should have told me sooner. Cry because I was scared. But I didn’t. I simply sat and listened to the doctor tell him that it was stress. All the while the memory blazed in my mind.
Saturday morning my lungs were struggling for air and I was struggling for the motivation to finish my 5K, when a stranger ran alongside me. He introduced himself. He told me I was going to finish. He told me not to give up even when the pain came. He finished the race with me. I didn’t know him, but that familiar memory was there.
It was there, in the back of my mind. The spinning of the record calling me back to a different season of life. I don’t understand the power that memory has over me, and I am not sure that I ever will, but I am beginning to understand the season of life in which I find myself today.
That is where I am. Not exactly where I would have hoped to be at thirty-five, but maybe none of us are exactly where we want to be, ever. Because each season brings its own challenges. Its own burdens. And also its own light. Each season shines a light in the darkest of times. Each season makes us dig deeper than we ever thought possible. Each season beckons us, the faint whispers of what we have experienced, collide with the anticipation and yearning of what lies ahead.
And it is scary.
And it is so scary.
And sometimes, if we have the right attitude and we set our sights on the right goals, we can change course.
And sometimes, if we surround ourselves with the right people and we look for the light, we can change others.
And sometimes, if we learn from the past and make way for the future, the season doesn’t change us. We change us.
There will always be times in our lives where we are sad and afraid. And there will always be times in our lives when we are happy and brave. And all these things might come at you at once. And you might stay a little longer in times of sadness, or you might radiate happiness out of you like a moonbeam all of the time. But we have to remember that we are not alone. That we are not bound to the old. We are not bound to a time or a place, to a season or a memory. We are only bound by what we tell ourselves we are capable of, as cliche and un-fucking-original as that sounds. It is true.
We are only bound by what we tell ourselves we are capable of.
So stop telling yourself that you are too old. That you are too young. That you are too fat. That you are too weak. Stop telling yourself that you had your chance and you missed it. Stop telling yourself that you will never get your chance. And start living the season of life you find yourself in right now. Let the season tumble you around. Let the season teach you. But don’t let it define you. Allow it to give you memories so strong that at 2 am on a Sunday you feel as though you can reach out and touch them one more time.
Just take a deep breath and give into it. Like that time you finished that whole cake by yourself. That cake is fucking tasty. So g’head, get messy.