April Tower-Chimes: The Seasons of Life
We recently had to put our 13-year old cat, Lucy, to sleep after it was discovered she’d developed cancer. We’re grateful that on her last day with us she seemed to be pain-free, and even her trip to the vet was relatively stress-free. In her final moments we told her we loved her, gave thanks for the joy that she was for our family, and tearfully bid her good-bye. After a lifetime of experiencing the realities of living this world, the author of Ecclesiastes made the observation, “There’s a season for everything.” It’s no surprise that his list of seasons begins with a time for giving birth and a time for dying.
Life itself has its various “seasons.” We often break it down to its age-based stages: birth, infancy, childhood, youth, young adulthood, adulthood, senior, death. Other categories of life’s seasons include studentworker→retired; novice→experienced→teacher; vibrant→inactive; single→married; childless→parenthood; living in one’s own home→living in assisted living. No matter how we look at it, we’re always in process, transitioning from one aspect of life to the next.
Interestingly, even our big picture experience of life in this world might have its seasons, in this case, recurring seasons. I was recently made aware of the Strauss-Howe Generational Theory (https://tinyurl.com/4tuu79bt), which describes a recurring generation cycle that can be found in Western history. The full cycle last 80-100 years during which there are four generations, or turnings, each lasting 20-25 years. In order, these generations are 1) a high (a recovery from the fourth generation), 2) an awakening, 3) an unraveling, and 4) a crisis. According to this theory, we are currently working our way through the fourth stage, a crisis. If this theory is true, then I imagine this doesn’t come as a surprise to most of us.
As I reflect on all of this, two things occur to me.
- We have very little control over the seasons of life. Whatever those seasons will be for each of us, we can’t make them come any faster than they will, with a few exceptions (for example, I can control when I retire). We certainly can’t control the generational seasons of our national life!
- God is the one constant throughout the ever-changing seasons. The day-to-day factors of our lives may shift over time, but God’s presence remains unceasing! If anything related to God’s presence in our lives changes over time, hopefully that’s our deepening relationship with him, our growing reliance on him, our increasing awareness of him. Regardless, though, God is a steadfast constant amid the everchanging seasons of life.
Easter is significant on multiple levels. One of the things Resurrection teaches us is that, metaphorically speaking, where we were yesterday doesn’t have to be where we are today, and where we are today doesn’t have to be where we are tomorrow. Before Easter, the Disciples were confused and scared. Post-Easter, they became bold in their faith and grew tremendously in their understanding of the truth of Jesus as well as their relationship with the risen Lord.
Whatever season of life you find yourself in these days, is your relationship with the Lord where you want it to be? If our spiritual lives can be compared to the water along a beach shore, how deep is the water where you’re currently standing? Knee-deep? Waist-deep? Chest-deep? Are you in the [spiritually] deep waters? As we move through the seasons of life, the one thing we can control is our spiritual development. It’s my hope that you’re intentionally moving into deeper water. If you’re not, what could you do to go deeper? And if you are, keep going!