You are probably already aware of this, but the title above is the first six words of the Bible verse, Ecclesiastes 3:1-“To every thing there is a season, and a time for every purpose under the heaven.” It is also the first seven words of the song Turn! Turn! Turn! by the group The Byrds, written somewhat later than The Bible was, and released in 1965.
As a teacher, it is almost impossible to not be keenly aware of the seasons; of the year, and of life. Only moments ago, I was chatting with a high school student of mine as he manned the register of a local supermarket. He and I both were somewhat lamenting the fact that another school year was about to begin… again. “The summer went by so fast!” he said as he checked my groceries. (And I used to think that feeling was something only old guys like me had.)
Indeed, the summer has passed quickly, and here we are about into September, already. I do have great memories of some of the miracles of just being alive this summer, simply from the wonderful times I have had with my family. Since the beginning of summer, I have, several times, held my first great grandchild in my arms, and have talked to her about how beautiful she is and what a great family she has. (We will have many more such chats in the future.) I have also spent time with all of my twelve grandchildren, including our barely one-year old granddaughter, and have watched them celebrate so much, from birthdays to junior high and high school graduations; from first steps, to their first days of college life. Indeed, I have been truly blessed in this life. Turn, turn, turn.
Last week, at this writing, my 93-year-old mom visited us, and she also got to hold our new great granddaughter and have five, count ‘em, FIVE generation pictures taken. Wow! She, and most of our family, also spent a day at Hampton Beach with us, and I watched her, barefooted, walking among the waves on the shore, with our kids and grandkids, and enjoying the feeling of the surf and sand, every bit as much as they. “a time for every purpose under the heaven.”
Very recently, also, my wife and I celebrated our anniversary. We have now marked 45 years of that wonderful woman putting up with me. (Talk about miracles.) Today, just before I went to the store and chatted with that student of mine, Lorna and I returned from a day trip to the White Mountains of New Hampshire in my 1970 VW Beetle, where we had a celebratory picnic at the base of Cannon Mountain. Truthfully, there’s something about a slow ride, in an antique car, to a beautiful place with your best friend of many years that is just absolutely sublime. (Don’t forget George’s golden rule. For a happy life, every couple MUST own a wicker picnic basket, and use it at least once a summer.)
I think that a lesson this old teacher has learned this summer is something my mom taught me a few years ago. During one of our visits she mentioned that she felt that age wasn’t a big deal, and that she has never been upset about whatever age she is. She told me that she knows life here doesn’t go on forever, and then she said: “and that’s okay.” Mom, I totally agree, and wish you a happy fall. “To every thing there is a season,” Turn, Turn, Turn.