Thursday, January 04, 2007

A Time to Be

There is an appointed time for everything, and a time for every affair under the heavens.


A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to uproot the plant.


A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to tear down, and a time to build.


A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance.


A time to scatter stones, and a time to gather them; a time to embrace, and a time to be far from embraces.


A time to seek, 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 be silent, and a time to speak.

A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
. . . .
It is one of the most familiar Scripture passages, coming from the third chapter of Ecclesiastes. It has been in my mind lately. The end of one year and the start of another is a time for reflection. This year there is a strange combination of the news of the world -- with its juxtaposition of intensity and horror along with complete and utter ridiculousness -- and an awareness of the personal sadnesses of so many around me.
. . . .
My own life is blessed and I'm so aware of it. There is so much joy for us just now. But so many around me are experiencing terrible pain: the sudden loss of a daughter, a too-young daughter/wife/mother in hospice care, a days-old infant needing heart surgery, and yesterday the news that a coworker is in the last days of her battle with lung cancer.
. . . .
The writer of Ecclesiastes reminds me that all of this is a part of life; that there are good times and there are bad times. (And, of course, I take particular delight that "a time to sew" is included among the good times.) My Lutheranism reminds me that God is with us in both the times of joy and the times of sorrow.
. . . .
I do the end of year reflecting, and the planning and hoping for the year to come. I find myself thinking back to a time when a young mother I'd known since her adolescence moved into our neighborhood. Wanting to welcome her and help her connect with other women, I invited her to join the book group. Her response surprised me. She said she would not join at that time: "I'm spending so much time doing. I don't have enough time just to be." It was as if she had read one more verse in the passage than the rest of us had: "A time to do, and a time to be."
. . . .
The picture at the top of this post was taken at Loon Lake. Joe and I were there primarily to attend a concert of Tom's. Loon Lake is about ten times quieter than Lake Woebegone. While there, we had plenty of time to be and we liked it. While being, we learned about butterfly gardens. And I took some photographs to help me to remember.
. . . .
My very first blog post was about my desire to "have fun with intentionality." http://nancynearphiladelphia.blogspot.com/2006/05/having-fun-with-intentionality.html
I've been able to do this, and it's been grand. In this new year, I hope to spend some time with Ecclesiastes, to understand it in a new and deeper way. Included with that would be to put into practice Laura's corollary: "A time to do, and a time to be."

4 comments:

Mrs. Goodneedle said...

I love this post... a time to be, I shall remember that and strive for that time.

Pam said...

I think I needed this post today. Sometimes it is so hard to accept the bad times - but for faith that there will be good times to come. Thank you.

A time to be - a time to sew. A time for peace.

Here is to a new year.

Susan said...

I always love these verses, but I prefer the very poetic sounding KJV rendition. Maybe because it's what I grew up hearing, it always strikes my ear the best, and I have no trouble understanding it. Either way, the meaning is beautiful, and a good reminder to all that there is, indeed, a season for all things in our lives. We get so impatient, sometimes trying to force a new season, when it isn't yet time for that.

Love the picture of Sam!

Morah said...

Lovely post.