“I can’t wait until I retire,” my friend said at lunch one day. “Then I can do all the things I want.”
“I can’t wait till this chemo is finished,” my patient said at her appointment. “Then I can get back to normal.”
We’ve all said things like this, haven’t we? We’ve all imagined how much better the future will be when we get past the present.
My house is quiet these days. My two younger daughters are away at college and my oldest is married and building her new life. My empty nest is far emptier than I ever imagined without Neil to share it. I often find myself saying, I can’t wait till the girls come home so the house feels alive again.
The other day I came across the very famous Scripture reading from Ecclesiastes that talks about a time for everything. Our lives have seasons just like the weather does – the college season, the work season, the retirement season.
This is my empty nest season.
I remind myself it is just one season. In time the girls will be home for the holidays, and then summer break. Next will be graduations and maybe more weddings and even grandchildren. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, pool parties, family dinners, and Disney movies will start all over again.
But right now the quiet is a gift I would be wrong to disregard. This is my season for a quiet house. I can eat what and when I want. I can change the TV station, or even better, I can leave the TV station right where it is. No flipping mindlessly through the channels! I can leave the windows open and never turn on the air conditioner. I can have the comforter all to myself in bed at night. And in this quiet, I have the opportunity to daydream and pray and reflect.
So as autumn pushes in and we embrace hot cider, pumpkins, candy corn and richly colored leaves, let’s embrace whatever season of life we’re in, too. Is this your time to mourn? To search? To be silent? Or is this your time to laugh and dance and celebrate? No matter what, it will pass in time, and the next will follow.
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 3:1-8).