Seasons in Iowa change. It’s one of the things I like about Iowa. Although the past couple of years the weather has been more mild all around, the season have still changed. I was running one September day when I realized that I need to recognize the seasons in my life as well. Growing up on a farm I witnessed how each season is necessary for the next one. You can’t harvest in the fall if you didn’t have a planting season in the spring. You can’t harvest in the fall if you didn’t have a growing season in the summer. You can’t harvest a good crop in the fall if the ground didn’t have time to rest and the equipment fixed in the winter.
I walked for several years before I ran. What I truly appreciate about walking and running is a bit of time outside, fresh air, colors, no phone calls or e-mail and returning home with a clearer mind. When I walked I could take others with and have a visit along the way. I’m remembering a great walk with an old friend Pam. We were able to visit without interruptions. Fantastic! Eventually however the walking wasn’t challenging me enough to be my main form of exercise so I picked up the pace.
I could have stayed stuck (walking) but I didn’t.
Since then I’ve ran a duathalon with my daughter and husband. I will never forget it. Did we win? NOT EVEN CLOSE. But we did it. I learned that I could push myself physically and survive. I couldn’t have done it if there hadn’t been a season of walking which changed to a season of running.
I continued to run through the summer and as I began to fail at my regularity of running in the fall, my sister-in-law invited our family to participate in a fund-raiser run for a mission trip through their church. It was a memory run. They had sponsored part of the t-shirt for the run in memory of her mother-in-law and our first son-in-law. I took the challenge. Mark, our son-in-law had fully lived his life until the day he died. It seemed appropriate that I would be challenged to fully participate in life in his memory.
Then I had a new thought. Would it bother our current son-in-law, Ryan that we continue to publicly remember our first son-in-law? After all, Mark’s been gone for 5 years (yesterday) and Ryan has been a part of our life for the past 3 years now. Isn’t it time to “move on”?
We could have stayed stuck but we didn’t.
There are many people who are stuck. Some in their grief and memories of a loved one who died way too soon, some in the way they were raised as a child for example. Stuck because they think if they move on they are somehow disrespectful or are supposed to forget. I want to say it’s okay to move on. It’s honoring, in fact, to live your life fully. You could not be who you are without that person or circumstance having been a part of an earlier season in your life. Just like it takes a season of planting and growth to have a harvest, who you are now is a result of the people and circumstances of your past.
I live my life more fully because I know there is no guarantee of life tomorrow. I am a better mother-in-law because I had a few years experience that are over now and a chance to start again. I remember Mark, our first son-in-law and laugh over many of the memories. I appreciate his quirky humor and stubborn ways but most of all I appreciate how much he loved our daughter. I think of our current son-in-law and I realize that his relationship with our daughter couldn’t be without each of their past experiences. Their previous seasons of life prepared them for where they are today, together.
It’s not in spite of their past. It’s because of their past.
Seasons are meant to come and go but just because you have moved into a new season does not mean you have forgotten the past or don’t need it anymore. It is because of that past season, good or bad, that you are where you are today.
There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
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 refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
Ecclesiastes 3 (NIV)
Seasons are the way God created life.