To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven. – Ecclesiastes 3:1
Image by https://www.pexels.com/@kasuma
As I write this post it is summer. Ah, summer. A season of warm weather, vacations, ripe fruits and, for my family God willing, lots of swimming. It is not a time of schedules and routines. We have been in the midwest on a family holiday with sunset boat paddles and swimming and a gaggle of happy children running around blowing bubbles and playing board games well past their bedtimes. So lovely!
Seasons of Life
On our drive out here I finished listening to the audiobook of The Lazy Genius. I just loved it! Listening to it was like being on the phone with a dear friend trying to give you some good advice after another day of chaos in your home. In the book Christian author Kendra Adachi lays out 13 of her life principles to help you “to create your own system based on what matters to you”. One of the principles that really intrigued me was “Live in your season”. In it she describes the peace that can come from recognizing and accepting the season of life we are in right now (parents of younger children likely if reading this blog) with an understanding that the way life is now is not the way life will always be. (She also talks about the actual seasons which I’ll discuss more below.) Living our season means trying not to bemoaning the things that we can’t do right now (spend hours in silence in church, read whenever we want or sometimes even go to the bathroom alone). Living our season means embracing the good (read alouds on the couch), the bad (fights about brushing teeth) and the ugly (temper tantrums in church) as gifts and struggles that can help us grow. Living our season means not trying to keep acting like everything is always the same no matter our changing circumstances.
The only constant in life (aside from God!) is change. This can be both heartbreaking (the last baby coos and sweet toddler speak) and life-giving (new areas of conversation that open with our children and more independence allowing us more time for self-care and personal interests).
God is right here, right now
So many of us struggle with being in the here and now. We spend most of our waking hours reliving the past or planning for the future. But God is with us in the here and now offering us each moment in front of us to savor and use towards our salvation and also guiding us not to worry overly about tomorrow, but to tend to the needs of the day. The more we are able to have faith in Him to handle our future and the more we are able to forgive ourselves and others and let go of the past the more we will be able to live in our season – using each moment in prayer and in offering to our beloved Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ.
Season of the Year
In her book, Kendra also writes about the seasons themselves – spring, summer, fall and winter. Each season has aspects we need to embrace and things we need to let go of. In winter (I write from a Northern US perspective) we try to lean into the quieter early evening dark and layers of clothing, socks and shoes. We let go of bare feet and outdoor picnics. In summer we lean into warmer weather and seasonal foods and let go of overly structured time for children (and ourselves too if we can).
Recently I went back to work after an extended maternity leave and the transition has been hard! Work started just as school was ending and there were so many moving parts I really struggled with finding a rhythm. I would say in the evening to my husband, “We need to get the kids to bed earlier!” And he would smile and point out how much I enjoy the lazy picnic dinners at our local swimming hole which inevitably get us to bed way past when we planned. For me summer is the season to embrace the lack of order a bit more in order to focus on what matters to me right now – filling my children’s short summer season with unstructured outdoor play and a sense of spacious timelessness.
The church year also gives us a beautiful seasonality to things – the “Lenten Spring”, the “Winter Pascha” – times to feast and times to fast. Living within these seasons of the church year is so powerful for any of us but especially our children who already inhabit the present moment with much more ease than we do. I plan to write more about following the church feasts but much has been written of it already too. One quick and easy way is by trying to incorporate seasons into our prayer corner with the festal icons and colors as well as pieces of nature (fresh flowers, winter berry twigs or pussy willows and lilies for Easter.)
This Spring as things were beginning to open up a bit from the tight grip of the earlier pandemic and the weather was letting us shake off of winter wardrobes and walk about barefoot outside again I lay in bed in the evening chatting with my husband. “You know,” I said. “I think Spring is my favorite season – with all of the flowers, and the fresh perspective, strawberries and birthday celebrations.” He smiled and looked over at me. “You know what I love about you?,” he began, “Next season your going to say to me ‘You know… I think Summer is my favorite season…'” We laughed. May it be blessed that we can live the seasons of our lives as they present themselves – seeing the beautiful (sun, sand, blueberries and late nights together) amidst the difficult (burns, mosquito bites, humidity and being overtired). Recognizing all of it as a gift from God, given out of His immense love for us and hope for our continued growth, communion and eternal salvation.
With love in Christ,