I have been thinking about seasons in life recently. Recent life experiences, what is happening in our world: politically, historically, and my personal story of recent months.
The past 14 months or so have been pretty tumultuous! My father passed away in January 2016, followed by my own personal journey of grief, depression and anger. This was heartbreaking. My wife’s mother passed away in December of the same year. This too was heartbreaking. Recently my daughter was involved in a car accident - her car was smashed to pieces, but miraculously she managed to walk away, though not without a few bruises and muscle trauma.
Then, about a month ago, I awoke with a suspected stroke. I was sent to our local hospital (thanks to free medical help in this country) and was cleared after a long and nervous wait. I have a condition called Bells Palsy and although temporary, it is a condition that will affect my work and private life. Primarily physical in nature, but like many conditions: with it comes fundamental emotional repercussions.
My mind has been drawn to these verses from the Old Testament. I chose the King James Version as it is so beautiful and poetic.
To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the 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.
Is it a good place?
I have some friends who have suffered illnesses and those who still continue suffering. Others are currently in a good place, but who knows what is around the corner. As we travel through our lives we go through seasons of winters and summers, the good and the bad.
But what is ‘bad’ exactly? If we learn from an experience, share our ordeals, empathise and help others - is it really a ‘bad’ thing? Certainly the experience can be mortifying, yet the aftermath may be cathartic.
When we are depressed and are advised to use antidepressants for a time, does that not mean we can then be well equipped to tell others in the same position that they will be okay? That things will improve? That maybe it will become manageable?
When your mother, like mine, has acute dementia, we can then communicate and understand what others are going through with their own loved ones.
How can we help, if we do not understand suffering?
Seasonally speaking, as we travel, we experience. If we go on a long and treacherous journey and return home exhausted and tired, do we focus on the pain or the journey? Perhaps, at first - but then, in hindsight is the event a learning experience? Our experience builds us up and we learn lessons in strength and fortitude. We can teach and build on what we have learned.
Spring is coming
Now, I freely admit that I am no expert but am a man with experiences, like so many others. But I believe that on a personal level, I am currently in a winter season! Some winters are worse for others, I know that - but this is my winter. I also know the journey may be tough. But underlying this is the belief that I know it will pass! Because spring is coming and things will be better! I have faith and I know I will learn from this.
Some people are suffering greatly and their outlook may appear quite bleak. My circumstances will be trivial compared to theirs.
Those who lose the fight like my Father and Mother-in-law have had a journey. When they passed from their final winter, they moved directly into a glorious summer. In the meantime I will remain as positive as I can, knowing that life is mostly good and things will pass.
I know my God is close to me. Nothing happens to us without his knowledge. Understanding God is difficult at times, but he has our best interests in his heart. We often do not see it, but one day we will. God desires us to learn and improve and to spread his word with love and understanding.
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
God loves us through the pain and His heart breaks with our suffering.
Christopher wants to see equalness in the world and desires to see the doors of Christianity open to all. He feels that, too often, faith and belief are used to promote individual ideologies. Christopher has been a drama junkie for decades. He enjoys reading, theatre, good food and good company. He loves music but can’t play a note, nor sing very well for that matter. He has two adult children and a patient wife. He lives in Melbourne Australia.
See previous articles by Christopher Newport