EDITOR’S NOTE: The paper called and asked me to write another column for January, since they were running short. So here it is!
Sometimes people stop me in public and ask me how I can remember everything that’s happened in my life, and how I am able to put those stories down on paper; to be honest, that’s a really good question. Like the proverbial Forrest Gump, I’ve “worn LOTS of shoes” and experienced more than my fair share of ups and downs, and it’s these things that have enriched my faith in God, and strengthened my walk with Him. He’s the inspiration for what is put down on pen and paper; the events have just been…lived out by me. That’s all.
You know, all of us at one time or another have went through certain things which, later on, make great stories to tell our children and other people. These trials, tribulations, and joys help make us who we are, and they teach us little lessons along the way. They’re what the Bible calls “seasons” out of Ecclesiastes; appointed times where things happen that we just don’t understand, but that we accept (or don’t accept) as part of that greater timeline known as “life”. These seasons might last for a few hours, or days, or perhaps even years…it all depends on the circumstances that we are facing.
I can remember one special season in my life (and yes, I do call it special) that lasted 16 years. During that time I was strung out and homeless; during that time I even thought that I would be better off dead than to go through the mess I had created. Yes, it was rough, and there was a lot of hurt and a lot of selfishness along the way. But in the end, God allowed me to go through that “season” so that I could hit rock bottom and have no other place to look up…but to Him. That time in my life was special because it taught me many things: compassion for my fellow man; humbleness and gratefulness; most of all, it taught me about a Love that was unconditional.
So, I joyfully remember that season. Even though it’s been seventeen years now since I was in that self-induced insanity, sometimes it seems like yesterday. Lessons learned were not lessons lost. Being clean and free from the bonds of drugs and booze is a wonderful gift that Jesus gave me; and, the Gift that he freely gave me I freely share with others.
Sure, there are those who might ask, “Why aren’t you bitter for all that stuff you had to go through?” Well, all I can say is that a root of bitterness, if left unchecked, will grow and grow and entrench itself into our very innermost soul if we allow it to. Being bitter isn’t healthy, nor is it productive for our lives. Bitterness causes resentment; and anger; and a loss of oneself. Bitterness “becomes” that person.
Some of you who are around my age (mid-40’s) will remember a guy named Terry Jacks who had a number one hit with a song entitled “Seasons in the Sun.” Very simply, Jacks sang about those times, or seasons, in our lives when things just happen; case in point; the lyrics speak of people dying. For Jacks, it also spoke of a season of grieving, of remembering, and of reflecting on life.
That song hit home with me back in 1973; and it still resonates strongly today. Haunting lyrics with images of beauty and wonder, with a timely message for all of us.
“We had joy, we had fun, we had seasons in the sun.
But the hills that we climbed were just seasons out of time.”
As I write this, I look forward to being the guest speaker at Park Baptist Church in Brookfield this upcoming Sunday (January 14th); and what God has laid on my heart to speak about is this very topic, seasons in our lives, from the Book of Ecclesiastes. There is much to share, and I am grateful to Him to be able to share it with His people there.
Seasons in our lives come, and then they go. Some are good, and some are bad. Some are joyful, some are fun, and then some are just….seasons that don’t make any sense to us. But we don’t need to worry about those; God has put them in our lives for a reason. We can rest assured that as long as we trust in Him, we’ll gain some valuable insight during those appointed times.
Enjoy those seasons while you can. They are there to give you a blessing and truly enrich your lives if you allow God to speak to your hearts through them.
I can tell you from experience, I rejoice in, and for, those seasons in my life.
Comments or questions? Feel free to leave Richard an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit his online blog at https://sliceofhome.wordpress.com to leave a message. His column appears monthly in the Linn County Leader.