Okay, The Byrds are awesome. One of my favorite groups. I hear their music and my feet just start moving. Before you know it, I’m doing a full-blown Mama Cass impersonation, my husband is snort-laughing, and my dachshunds are diving for cover lest they become the victims of drive-by dancing gone wrong. It’s more than just The Byrds’ groovy beat though that touches me. It’s their words, which of course, aren’t their words at all . . .
“What?” you ask. “Are you calling The Byrds plagiarizers?”
“Well,” I hem and haw. “Why don’t you just check out Ecclesiastes, Chapter Three, and decide for yourselves?” I reply as I crank the volume on Pandora. (G’ahead. Look it up. Seriously, it’s from the Bible, which dates way before 1965!)
Ecclesiastes, Chapter Three, is one of my favorite passages because it reminds me that every event in my life ~ the wonderful and the painful ~ are purposeful. Intended. Armed with that knowledge, I face each new season knowing that I am exactly where I am meant to be, doing exactly what I am meant to be doing, and learning exactly what I am meant to be learning.
The last time I wrote, I was getting ready to go to my best friend’s funeral. It was a sad season. It was hard to endure.
Today, as I write this, I am looking out my living room window at the gold and crimson glow from the maple trees in my front yard. It’s Autumn in Minnesota, which is basically the season when God gets to be a show off. Seriously, folks, I am talking about jaw-dropping views. As I look at all this splendor I am reminded that Autumn is also a dying season. All those gold and crimson leaves? They are simply flaming out as they say goodbye.
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
Ecclesiastes Three helps me to accept not only the purpose, but the transience of the painful seasons in my life. The hard times, Ecclesiastes teaches me, have been allowed because they needed to be here. That’s hard to accept when we’re in the midst of loss, isn’t it? I know it is for me. When the storms of grief subside, I find that I am often able to hear God’s quiet voice.
Take heart, Child, He promises me, A new season of rejoicing is coming.
Autumn’s falling leaves, I realize, become the nutrients in the soil that will nourish Spring’s flowers . . .
On Sunday I received wonderful news. In fact, it would not be an exaggeration to say that an exciting, new season began in my life.
“What happened?” you ask.
On Sunday, around noon, I received a call from Saritza Hernandez, Senior Literary Agent at the Corvisiero Literary Agency. She told me just about the best news anyone could tell me! She’d read my book. Twice, actually. It had touched her, and she wanted to be the one to bring it into the publishing community!
We talked for quite awhile. We discovered that we share a similar vision for Caught in the Crossfire. We broke it down like pros and brainstormed like crazy! We even giggled. More than once. As I hung up the phone, I was filled with that turn, turn, turn feeling, and I knew with absolute certainty that I had just met someone who was going to be a BIG part of my life.
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
Has my season of mourning completely passed? No, not at all and it won’t for quite some time. More than anything I wish I could pick up the phone and share this news with Bev, my friend who recently passed away. I can imagine her now, kicking off her heels, throwing up her arms, and joining me in a full-blown Mama Cass get down and get groovy dance! But as much as I miss my friend and wish she could share in this joy, I also know that without her love and encouragement, I may not have even written Caught in the Crossfire. Without her dedication to honest feedback, it certainly wouldn’t have been good enough to catch Saritza’s discerning eye. More than anything I know that Bev is in Heaven, at this very moment, boogie dancing her celebration with me.
No, the season of grief has not passed, but as certainly as I feel the season changing in the crisp morning breeze, I feel the season changing within me. A new season is approaching: A time to gather ideas for future projects, new friends, new colleagues. A time for giggles and a time for dancing.
As I reflect on this new season that is coming into my life, I can’t help but also think that a new season is coming into our world.
A time of war, a time of peace
A time of love, a time of hate
A time you may embrace
A time to refrain from embracing
Can you think of a better way to describe the season we’ve been living in? Two sides, equally dedicated to their truth, clashing in war while the victims caught in the middle simply ask to be allowed to live their lives in peace. People hating others simply because they ask to be able to love. Families and friends closing their arms and hearts from the sight of a loved one embracing his/her significant other. It has been a heartbreaking season for everyone involved in this debate over whether or not sexual identity and/or orientation is legitimate cause to justify withholding the full scope of rights and protection under the law of the United States of America.
Again, I am filled with that turn, turn, turn feeling. Note, the song gives us an important clue about how we can issue in this new season. If we are to change, we must turn ~ not just once, or twice, but three times ~ until we can look at one another and REALLY see into the heart of the person who is asking for one simple request: to be able to love and to love freely.
In this new, approaching season, we have choices to make. In November Minnesotans will vote to define marriage as between a man and a woman only or to expand our definition so that it is inclusive and protected under the law as a fundamental human right. This is just one example of the opportunities for growth that exist in this nation today.
What choices do you face that impact this important discussion? Are you a landlord, screening your applicants? Are you an employer, deciding who you will hire? Are you a consumer, trying to decide which fast food restaurant to go to for lunch? Are you a voter, surveying the political scene? Are you a mother or a father torn between your personal beliefs and your love for your child? Are you hiding, trying to decide what is worse: suffocating in the closet or facing the maelstrom of disapproval and discrimination?
Each of these choices will shape who we become, individually, and as a nation. What will you choose?
A time to gain? A time to lose?
A time to rend? A time to sew?
A time to love? A time to hate?
A TIME OF PEACE?
I SWEAR IT’S NOT TOO LATE!