Wednesday, July 18, 2012

What Do You Mean "A Step Back?"

I've had those famous verses from Ecclesiastes stuck in my head for days now.  You know the ones...

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
2 a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
3 a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
4 a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
5 a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
6 a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
7 a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
8 a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.
- Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

And every time I try to focus on something else or "la, la, la" it out of my ears, the song version, "Turn, Turn, Turn" by the Byrds based on the same chapter, thunders in. Of course, it doesn't help that I only know the beginning and end lyrics of the verses by heart.  So I sing it in my head kind of like, "there is a season...turn, turn, turn, and a la, la, la, la, la, lalaa hmmm under Heaven.  A time to be born, a time to die, a time to plant, a time to hmmm, a time to blah, a time to hate.  A time for peace, I swear it's not too late."


Simultaneously, I've had some old icky companions come a knockin' lately.  Allow me to introduce you.
Fear, Self-doubt, & Anxiety with an occasional visit from Gluttony.

(Hello fellas.  I wish I could say I'm happy to see you.  But I really thought I had left you behind for good.  Yet here you are back to your old tricks.  Gladly, I know much better how to show you to the door.) 

"Why have I been frequently visited by these old enemies?" I've wondered.  I was talking to my husband about it a few nights ago and he said, "Well, honey, I have to think you are just still mourning."  Oh.

Ugh!  Why didn't I think of that?  Instead, I thought to myself, "Great, I took two steps forward, and now I'm three steps back again."

Then the message from Ecclesiastes rained down on me like joyful tears...
"To everything there is a season....a time for every purpose under Heaven." 

Why should I think I've taken a step back? 
There has been designated a period of mourning the loss of my father....a time for it. 
There is no step back. 
They are all steps onward, holding the hand of my Heavenly Father. 

There will be times when we will walk together to the left; times to walk to the right.
At times up a hill; at others into a valley.
Sometimes we will stop and take in the view.
At times we will laugh together, inspired with the prospect of the future.
At times He will hold me as I cry, aching from the sorrow of these earthly costs.
But always forward...always in motion...always advancing...
Always onward.

Maybe there are no steps back in life.
To everything there is a season.
And as long as our faith is firmly planted in Him,
we are assured we are journeying on....
Journeying onward...
Always onward.


  1. C- Thanks for your post.
    I just rec'd a note in the mail today from (Tyler)the husband of my good friend, Linda who died from cancer in April of this year. It's the first time he's contacted us since he called to say she'd passed.
    He was thanking us (Joanna and me) for being such good friends to Linda and taped a little memorial card inside that her sister had made up (Linda didn't have a service or funeral).
    He mentioned that he's "just starting to wake up from the fog of her passing to see what the future looks like...kind of murky."
    He then went on to say he's kept Linda's phone number and could we all go get Chinese soon, saying, "I can't promise I won't make a fool of myself."
    Tyler and Linda weren't particularly "religious", so I'm having trouble coming up with appropriate sentiment. Before her death, while we were at Linda's bedside (she was in a coma)Tyler, Joanna and I just spoke of Linda's daily care, and her family and how Tyler was dealing with all that.

    This post has reminded me that Tyler is ready to move forward. All we can do is be there for Tyler, celebrate Linda's life, encourage each other to keep going forward, and that life still goes on.

    Thanks again -- sal

    1. Sal,
      I'm so, so sorry to hear about Linda. What a loss for all of you. You are good to be there for Tyler and just know that what you already do best - listen - is the absolute right thing to do for him right now. I know when Daddy passed, the people I wanted to be around most were the ones who knew him and could relate to all I was missing about him. So I know it will be of great comfort to Tyler to have you to talk to. I will be praying for you all. Love you my friend...