When I was young, there was a very popular song called “Turn, Turn, Turn,” that become a hit in 1965. It was taken from the scripture: “To everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under heaven.”
For some reason, that song came back to me today when I was trying to formulate my thoughts for today’s blog. Here’s the complete text of the scripture from the Book of Ecclesiastes in the Bible.
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, a time to reap that which 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 get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, 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 of war, and a time of peace. Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
While the scripture covers a lot of ground, today—for me—it’s about patience. Patience has been a challenge for me for pretty much all my life. And just when I think I’ve “mastered” it, I lose it.
It’s very discouraging. Rather like the week that has just passed. But the past week isn’t about what happened, or at least that’s not what this blog is about. It’s more about how I feel about what happened. It’s about getting another kick-in-the-teeth reminder that I still need to work on patience.
And that I’m not in charge of what “time” it is for someone else.
That I need to keep cultivating patience in myself, and giving others the space and time to work out their own seasons’ challenges.
That when I try to “help” someone else take a shortcut to learning important life lessons, that might not be that helpful.
Yeah, I know some things that those younger than me don’t know. Sometimes I even think I’m wise. But I learned all of this by living. Making mistakes. Picking myself up and trying again. Yeah, if “the young” would listen to me, they wouldn’t have to face plant. But they also might not learn what I learned.
I don’t know.
Who am I to decide that? I’m not wise enough to know what someone else can learn from talking, and what lessons can only be learned from living through their personal seasons. I know I fell a lot—despite a lot of talking from people who wanted to help me. But I learned.
I’m still learning. (I hope.) This week has mostly been “a time to weep.” Hopefully the “time to rejoice” will follow at some point. And I hope that I have enough patience to wait for the right time. To not just be patient, but to respect others’ seasons, to know when it is the season to speak and when it is the season to respect their right to choose.
And a time to every purpose under heaven…
What about you? Do you remember the song? Did it have special meaning for you or were you like me and just thought it sounded cool? Have you struggled with knowing what season you’re in? Wanted to speed up someone else’s season? I love comments so much that I pick a favorite to receive my monthly AnaBanana gift basket ($25 value). Recipient is announced the first blog post of the new month.
P.S. I was trying to think what book was the most about personal choice and agency and decided that would be Relatively Risky, included in The Big Uneasy Bundle. Nell has a lot of people trying to get her to do what they want—including her deceased parents (no, no ghosts, except the metaphorical ones).