I don’t know who the first person was to compare the passing phases of life to the changing of the season, but I’m sure he or she lived very early in human history. Perhaps one of the earliest was Solomon who wrote these famous lines, “For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven.” (Eccl. 3:1) They are probably best remembered by many of us, especially Baby Boomers like me, as the lyrics from the Byrds 1965 recording of Pete Seeger’s Turn! Turn! Turn! If you’ve ever heard it you’ll never forget the sound of Roger McGuinn’s 12 string guitar opening.
This is not only an obvious analogy about life, but it’s almost irresistible. Seasons come and go and we have absolutely no control over this change at all. Seasons aren’t exactly the same each year either. For example this year we’ve had a great “fall” here on the River. It cooled off fairly early and we all have been enjoying near ideal weather for quite a while now. One thing you can be sure of is that this will change too and probably sometime soon.
Of course this will give rise to a group we have all been part of at one time or another, a group I call the Weather Wimps. Everyone complains about the weather at times, but some people have practically made a career of it and have elevated complaining to a near art form! I know people who hate the heat and others who hate what we call “cold” around here; and they make sure they tell you about it five or six time a day every day.
Weather Wimps never seem to tire of complaining about the weather. This is true even though everybody else they know sure gets tired of hearing it. Yes, we know you hate the cold or the heat, but do you know there’s nothing anyone can do about it? We’re dealing with it too so why not just lighten up? Oh and while you’re at it why not shut up too? Misery may love company, but if you keep on constantly complaining you may be talking to yourself because I love my sanity a lot more than I love your misery.
The truth is that almost everyone complains about whatever season of life they are in at the moment. Kids complain about being bossed around, teenagers complain about just about everything, young adults complain about being kept down by those older than they are, the middle aged complain about their kids and taxes and the onset of aches and pains, and old folks complain about their health, all the infirmities of old age and why do things have to keep on changing anyway?
Left to ourselves we all tend to whine about things we don’t like. That’s where looking at life as a series of passing seasons can really help us. Because if there’s one we know about the season we are in right now is that it’s not going to last. It will end sooner or later and in about a year from now it’ll come back again.
As someone wise once said, “this too shall pass,” and so it shall. There’s a purpose in every season that comes. There are things to do and to learn in every stage of life. There are people to love and help and stand by no matter what’s happening to you or me. The rough seasons remind me to look beyond myself and never give up hope, because a new season will come and could be right around the corner.
There have been passing seasons for as long as the earth has existed and those seasons will keep on turning until the earth ends. That’s another needed reminder from the seasons, eventually life ends. We don’t know when or how exactly, but we do know our seasons will come to an end too.
So in whatever amount of time remains between where we are now and the inevitable end, let’s make the most of our ever changing lives. Life is precious and short but there’s so much we can do to fill our days with good and needed acts of kindness and justice. It will end someday, but in the meantime why not try and make a difference instead of trying to be the world’s best (worst?) complainer? No one needs another complainer but everyone does need as much love, counsel and support as we can find. And I’d much rather die trying to help others than go out with a little whiney complaint on my lips.
How about you?