“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.” ~ Book of Ecclesiastes
We’d all probably sign on to this passage of scripture, because life is an ongoing cycle of beginnings and endings and change is our one constancy.
But in this perpetual cycle, it is not often clear what season it is.
- Is it a time to be born or is it a time to die?
- Is it a time to plant or is it a time to uproot?
- Is it a time to tear down or is it a time to build?
How do you know if you’re coming or going?
Jared Diamond wrote in Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed, “Two types of choices seem to me to have been crucial in tipping the outcomes of the various societies towards success or failure: long-term planning and willingness to reconsider core values. On reflection, we can also recognize the crucial role of these same two choices for the outcomes of our individual lives.”
At face value Diamond’s observation makes sense:
- How can we survive without planning for the future?
- How can you plan for the future without reconsidering the past?
- How can we reconsider the past without reconsidering our core values?
In my case, planning for the future and examining core values were often frightening. What if doing so meant I needed to change? So the change of seasons was also frightening.
The thing is, the freight train that is change doesn’t care one whit about my fear. Change will come for me, whether I’m ready or not.
The scenery changes, the familiar becomes unfamiliar, old ways stop working, and I find myself turned upside down.
I hate being turned upside down. I find myself clinging to my old ways like a kid with security blanket, hoping that if I hold on tight enough, I can prevent the seasons from changing.
So recently, when I reflected back on the seasons of my life, I found myself wishing I’d spent:
? A little less time being certain of what I know, and a little more being aware of what I don’t know,
? A little less time working on the world, and a little more working with my neighbor,
? A little less time changing others, and a little more changing myself,
? A little less time defending my freedom, and little more exercising it,
? A little less time offering advice, and a little more taking it,
? A little less time talking a talk, and a little more walking a walk,
? A little less time focused on my persona, and a little more focused on my person,
? A little less time defending my principles, and a little more examining them,
? A little less time imagining the future, and a little more reconsidering the past,
? A little less time waiting for amends, and a little more time making them,
? A little less time feeling angry, and a little more feeling empathy,
? A little less time celebrating my victories, and a little more examining my failures,
? A little less time pursuing my dreams, and a little more pursuing a living,
? A little less time focused on what I wasn’t, and a little more focused on what I was,
? A little less time pursuing bliss, and a little more pursuing reality,
? A little less time on what I might teach, and a little more on what I might learn,
? A little less time being an energized evangelist, and a little more being a humble monk,
? A little less time working as a smooth operator, and a little more being an inquisitive kid.
But as seasons come, seasons go. For every ending there’s a beginning. What I did not do yesterday, I can begin to do today.
Life goes on.
Just a thought…
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