"Into Each Life Some Rain Must Fall." Song by Ella Fitzgerald and The Ink Spots. Rain, Rain, Go Away Nursery Rhyme. Ecclesiastes 3:1, "To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.
As I lay in my bed searching the ceiling, and feeling somewhat melancholy, it occurred to me that it was approaching the third anniversary of the passing my beloved late husband, Deacon Robert Lane. Upon this realization, I waxed philosophical. At that moment, no tears, just an acknowledgment of this tremendous loss and warm, heartfelt
remembrance of the love shared (somehow everything else gets filtered out--for those who are married or who have been married can relate) and the acceptance that I am still in bereavement. Fortunate for me I was raised in a home where I was taught that our stay in this life is temporary. But, that does not mean that I always understand. In fact, the hardest thing to perceive and receive is that death is a part of living. So sometimes I muse.
I recently watched a movie entitled, "The Picture of Dorian Gray." The protagonist Dorian was obsessed with his beauty as was the artist commissioned to do his portrait. The thinking of that era was that beauty was associated with being good while the opposite with evil. After having his soul trapped within the painting, Dorian gained immortality (Remember, this is fiction). He does not age (he remains 20 years old) and seems to be immune to all conventional diseases, viruses and infections. Imagine explaining to your wife or husband of 30 years or even your friends why you still look 20. Strangely enough, the picture reflected his moral compass. Let's just skip ahead; he commits a murder and the blood shed is reflected in the picture. Each act that he took to cover the crime resulted in the further desecration of the painting. Dorian decides to destroy the painting and in so doing destroys himself. Believe it or not, this picture got me to thinking (more like fantasizing); What if we could pause our existence at a particular stop on the wheel of life? Seriously though, many have tried and continue to try do just that; and you know this is true by the numbers of plastic surgeons doing booming business. Why not look twenty when you are 50? (As if?) (The organs still age). As I said, I started thinking.
Unlike the roulette wheel, which many of us are familiar with, or even the wheel of fortune of which many of us are fans, the wheel of life has different options. We know where we want to land on the previously noted wheels; the greatest pay out or the best prize. Now, in order to determine where we want to land (hypothetically speaking) on the wheel of life we have to carefully examine the choices. Even the biggest pay out and the best prize don't last a lifetime. The Wheel Of Life options are taken directly from Ecclesiastes 3 (there you see the full array of potential stops).
"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens." Ecclesiastes 3:1:
Where would you stop on the wheel of life if given the opportunity? I suppose this might be tantamount to asking what would one do if they were to hit lotto for hundreds of millions of dollars. The excitement would be overwhelming, but once you returned to earth (sanity), you would have to begin to think about consequences. Yes, consequences. Your life would change dramatically and not always in a good way. Think about all the "relatives," friends, associates, advertisers, con men, kidnappers, liars, thieves (including those who are called accountants), etc., etc., that would suddenly be a part of your life. Makes you think twice about winning the lotto. I know, some people will still take their chances.
Love seems like a good place to pause on the wheel. Ecclesiastes says there is a time and a season for everything. So how long would you stay in the season of love? Remember, life continues while we are in a given season. The seasons still change for others, and there is a season for hate. What happens to us when have overlooked (ignored) the season to hate when we are in the season of love. Will we be overtaken by our enemies? (Not to hate enemies, but to guard against what they might have planned for us). Will we miss the signs to take care cover from the normal "slings and arrows" of this life? (Sickness, disease, poor planning, racism, prejudice, lack of resources, etc.) Hmmm? What about choosing "laugh" as a place to pause. Obviously, if you are laughing there is something that cheers you. Can you laugh your way through a season of weeping which is sure to come? Remember Dorian Gray remained beautiful and young, but those around him grew suspicious of him, believing something was evil about him and that created another set of problems. What do you think would happen to you if you went around laughing all the time? I'm just saying. (Be careful what you ask for). Lastly, what about "born?" That seems like a great place to land. A fresh start. Alas, that may not be so great; just being born without growing up does not seem like much fun.
I read a children's novel with my grandson; "Tuck Everlasting" by Natalie Babbitt. In this children's novel the Tuck family happened upon a spring in the woods and drank from the waters. At first they did not realize it, but as the years passed they realized that they had not aged. They did figure it out. After eighty seven years, they stayed the same age as when they drank from the spring. (The sons were 17 and 24, respectively and the parents were in their forties). Of course they had to keep moving. Would you want to live around a person who was 30 when you were 30 and now you are 70 and they are still thirty? A lot creepy. You would begin to wonder; What are they eating, drinking?, etc. Who sold a soul? (Just kidding.) It's a fascinating story in that each person in the family had a different view about living forever. The father's view struck me most (He was not in favor of it): "It's a wheel, Winnie. Everything's a wheel, turning and turning, never stopping. The frogs is part of it, and the bugs, and the fish, and the wood thrush, too. And people. But never the same ones. Always coming in new, always growing and changing, and always moving on. That's the way it's supposed to be. That's the way it is."
Growing up, I was told that "we are free to choose," but God already knows what we are going to choose. I believe I need some help to make the right choices. That's just me. While we cannot change what the wheel of life presents, we can embrace what life brings by accepting that some things are not in our control and by praying for the serenity to change what we can. We all have in common this experience we call life; the longer we live, the more we see "that's life." I think I started writing this piece about bereavement and to encourage myself and others, but it turns out I am reviewing the facts of life. Yes, into each life some rain must fall; that is the season to weep. Each of us will pass through the seasons. That's life. But, we can take heart, because we do not remain indefinitely in a season.
I am so grateful that my season of weeping will pass; and the same with my season of mourning. It is all under God's control. To all of you who are similarly in this season, my love and condolences go out to you. But, know that this is a part of the life cycle, and it too will pass. The time to heal, laugh, love, etc, will come just as the seasons change. Try not to bring sadness to the new season. You will miss the joy to be found in the other seasons.
"Wise people accept even the burdensome or painful realities that we cannot change." NIV Commentary 2019-2020 Edition.
1. Life happens, don't be alarmed when it does. I know that we believe we are in control of everything and that we have free will. The truth is that we are in control of some things and yes we do have free will. Life cycles are out of our control; they were designed by God. Anyone who has ever lived knows that one day they will return to dust (die). Even in the fictional novel Tuck Everlasting, we read: "But dying's part of the wheel, right there next to being born. You can't pick out the pieces you like and leave the rest. Being part of the whole thing, that's the blessing." Embrace each cycle as it happens and accept that this is all in the experience of living; we have been educated about the cycles. Don't be dismayed, we have God who has promised to walk with us through the seasons along with those in our village.
2. Make this life count. Stop wasting time thinking about what might have been or even what has been. Live your best/blessed life. Get started right away living your life on purpose and with passion. If you do not have anything that you are passionate about, take a workshop to find out how to identify and ignite your passion (I am offering one (part of a series) on July 25, 2020). Volunteer at any place where there are people who are less fortunate than you (soup kitchen, homeless shelter, etc.). You can even start in your place of worship; see what needs to be done and get it done. Go back to school, send a family member or a financially challenged person to school; start giving. Find a need and fill it. Show love to those who need it and follow through on the actions that demonstrate love. Bless someone else. Your life will be enhanced exponentially, and you will be too busy to worry about life cycles.
3. Wherever the wheel lands, be prepared: Pray. It has been said that there is nothing certain in this life but death and taxes. I am certainly not disputing that. However, I am going to add to that. "The wheel of life" will stop somewhere in your life. There will be joy, there will also be sorrow, there will be laughter and yes there will be pain. This is certain. Embrace the seasons as they come. Pray mightily and call on the Creator. He has promised to never leave us or forsake us. "Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave or forsake you." I can attest to this; God has been with me in every season of my life. I am prepared ahead of time by knowing, loving and serving Him. Get to know Him. The wheel of life will land someday on a stop that you will wish it had bypassed. Having the Lord to walk through with you is everything. Psalm 23.
Live on purpose in every season; be grateful that you have been allowed to participate in the full range of what life consists of. It means that you are alive! If you respond with gratitude and love and understanding, you will be able to walk with someone else when the troubling seasons come and to celebrate making it through. You are also building strength for your walk.
Thank you to all of those who have held me up and loved me through the seasons and helped me to experience joy in the midst of it all. God bless you. Know that I am here for you.
Wishing you God's best in every season!
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