Wednesday, April 30, 2008

turn, turn, turn...

Remember that song?

"To everything, turn, turn, turn, there is a season, turn, turn, turn, and a time, to every purpose, under heaven." (The Byrds)

It's been haunting me lately, that tune from my youth. It is a new season for me, both figuratively and literally, and I'm struggling mightily to transform from dry winter wood to delicate blossom with courage and grace.

Where in the world have I been these past few weeks? I hate to take the "dog ate my homework" route with this blog, but I do have some really good excuses this time. Spring has come to my Michigan town (at least off and on) and with it a flurry of activity.

I've been spending lots of time with my six-year-old son, Luke. He and I have been taking walks around our neighborhood nearly every day. Like all my children, he is extraordinary. He is so intelligent and sensitive, so alert to the beauty of the world. He is special to me because I am seeing more and more that he is a bit of a "mini-me." (Finally, on child six, and in a positive way -- he imitates my GOOD qualities!) A Michigan spring is glorious, and Luke has been glorying in observing the changes. As we walked on his birthday, he stooped to collect a tiny flower growing in a neighbor's yard. "Look Mama! A tiny blue child!" he exclaimed. I'm in heaven.

I've been spending lots of time with my daughters, Rachel and Lauren. Both are getting married this summer, leaving our little nest to start families of their own with wonderful young men. I am overcome with joy and wonder. Where did the time go? I know I am starting to sound like one of those old women who pinches the cheeks of everyone under 30. But seriously, I swear it was just yesterday that I was selecting their First Communion dresses. And now, in three weeks, my eldest child will be a married woman.

Truth be told, I've not been spending nearly enough time with my other children, AJ, Joey and John, although we did manage to wrap up the so-called homeschooling that had been going on here this year. Joey did get his share of attention these past few weeks as we've decided to send him to "real" school next year. My little boy will be leaving me, boarding a real live school bus every morning and leaving his mother! My goodness, the child is only 13 years old! Oh dear, I think we will manage, but I must admit a good bit of my heart will board that bus with him.

My husband will tell you he is getting no attention at all, but that's not entirely true. He started a new job this month, after 18 years with the same company. For me that means he is no longer three minutes away, but thirty. It means I have to find new doctors with our new health insurance, and eventually meet all those new folks he's working with. It means that I'm praying for him every day, knowing that he is so talented and hoping his new employer will keep on seeing that. It means that each day I'm eager to hear all the details about his new daily life, and that even though the children are keeping me so busy lately I want to keep reminding my husband that he is my priority. I am so proud of him and love him so much, but sometimes it's hard to make that seem real, isn't it?

Long overdue is the good deal of time I've been spending taking care of myself lately. I renewed my gym membership, rediscovering the intense pleasure of pushing myself just a little harder each day, walking a little faster, lifting a heavier weight, doing just one more rep. It makes me feel strong, reminds me that I am strong, strong as I need to be to keep my life in balance.

That's what it's been this past month, a balancing act, a test of my priorities. I only mentioned a tiny portion of what I've been thinking about, what I've been doing. Didn't spend any time at all talking about the relationships with my elderly parents, best friend, and neighbors, responsiblities at church, household repairs and yardwork, or even that crazy garage sale we're having this weekend. (What am I thinking?) Don't even need to mention that we were visited yesterday by the fire department (the microwave is fine but the biscuit is toast) and spent time in the ER (in an unrelated incident involving Luke's forehead and a door.) Oh dear, oh dear.

You've guessed by now that this blog and all other writing projects did not make the cut these past few weeks. With no regrets I must acknowledge what I know is true. It's just not in season. It is a time to observe the wondrous transformation going on all around me and within me right now. Like a Michigan spring, it is magnficent and beautiful with chartruese budding trees and magnolias that bloom on a Monday and cover the ground by Wednesday. Like all things truly beautiful, this time is fragile. If I close my eyes for even a second, I will miss it. And I cannot miss it. There is a time for every purpose under heaven, and this is the time to glory in spring, in all its transient beauty.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

To everything there is a season, and
a time to every purpose under heaven:

A time to be born, and
a time to die;
a time to plant, and
a time to pluck up
that which is planted;

A time to kill, and
a time to heal;
a time to break down, and
a time to build up;

A time to weep, and
a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and
a time to dance;

A time to cast away stones, and
a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and
a time to refrain from embracing;

A time to get, and
a time to lose;
a time to keep, and
a time to cast away;

A time to rend, and
a time to sow;
a time to keep silence, and
a time to speak;

A time to love, and
a time to hate;
a time of war; and
a time of peace.


Kate said...

Wonderful post and a wonderful reminder to savor the "now." Thank you for leading me to this and for your prayers. (The crazy thing is someone else sent me an essay with a very similar theme that also quote Ecclesiastes. I think God wanted me to reflect on that right about now.

Sarah said...

Cathy, this is a lovely post. I know just what you mean about things not making the cut...

Spring is crazy and hectic and HARD. I know that seems counter-intuitive, but I've been reflecting on that (and, ironically, also on that passage from Eccl!) as the world around me explodes and I struggle to keep the bags under my eyes at bay long enough to smile at the sunshine.

So enjoy it! We'll still be here when you get back to your 'puter. :)

As an aside: whereabouts in Michigan are you? (You can email me...I don't expect you to out it here in public!)

momto5minnies said...

So I guess you have been busy, huh!

Things are winding down a little here with school/homeschool coming to a finish. SPRING is a busy time indeed.


Stina said...

Thank you for sharing this great post. I don't think I can ever be told enough to slow down and live in the now. You have so much going on, but you seem to have such a great attitude about it all.

God bless!