“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
— J.R.R. Tolkien, “The Fellowship of the Ring”
I’ve had some tragic news making each day stretch out like a month. I ordered a winter dress and it has not arrived. It’s 79 degrees and I cannot wear the dress, but surely, I could have shorn a sheep by now. At the same time, my hair appointment is due; surely, I was just there. Basically, I am just irritable because I have lost my too-young friends to eternity. My heart is crushed, and I am in pain. It was an untimely loss.
So, why does the past zip by and the future take forever? Why do some things come all too quickly, and other things never come? Is time on my side, like the Rolling Stones crooned?
The Byrds sang, “To everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under heaven.” Is there? The basis for the Byrds’ lyrics came from the book of Ecclesiastes where I read a footnote: “There is an appropriate occasion for every human event or activity: life is endlessly complex.”
“A time to be born, a time to die. A time to plant, a time to reap. A time to kill, a time to heal. A time to laugh. A time to weep. A time to build up, a time to break down. A time to dance, a time to mourn. A time to cast away stones, a time to gather stones together.
A time of love, a time of hate. A time of war, a time of peace. A time you may embrace, a time to refrain from embracing. A time to gain, a time to lose. A time to rend, a time to sew. A time for love, a time for hate. A time for peace, I swear it’s not too late.”
By my time frame it’s October and time for fall. I sought out Gunilla Norris’ words of comfort in her book “Embracing the Seasons.”
“Messy as the leaves are in the garden, their process is direct and clean. When the time comes to let go, they let go. I take the rake and move the leaves toward the compost pile. They rustle as I rake, a familiar autumn sound. Letting go is a constant process. Often, we cannot know what is happening until later, sometimes years later memory shifts without our knowing about it. The very structure of experience changes. Insights emerge. Our own aging adds its part to this, as does the living of every day. The old breaks down, and we sense something new emerging.
“There are seasons when we are not what we would call ‘ourselves.’ They are the fall seasons in our lives. When we shed the past like the trees shed their leaves, the old just drops away. When we embrace this as a natural time of release, we will come to feel the freedom and rightness of it.”
On things to come, Gunilla writes, “Our inner journeys have dark, wintry times and shining seasons with color and abundance. This is the natural state of things that does not need to be resisted.”