Another summer is coming to an end and another autumn about to begin. Life is abundant with seasons, patterns and rhythms – not just the rhythm of winter spring, summer and autumn; seasons that herald and support the changes in the agricultural year that lead to times of harvest. There are other seasons too that affect our lives – we move through childhood to adolescence, then to adulthood and, we hope, maturity that brings experience and wisdom which can be harvested and shared with others.
During our lifetime we learn that the fastest road to exhaustion and burnout is to go against the natural rhythms and seasons of life and go our own way just a little too much. The beginnings and endings of events, occasions and the natural ebb and flow of life present us with opportunities to enjoy, and learn from, as we go along the varying seasons of our lives. There are times of activity and energy, times to learn and nurture, a time to relax and go with the flow, and times to fade.
Yet the pace and challenges in our world today often demand that we ignore the reality that we are natural creatures and as such are affected by life’s seasons, patterns and rhythms. Often we can feel driven to comply with those contrary expectations and demands. But we do so at great personal risk. In short, our quality of life becomes impoverished, and we may run on ‘empty’ for quite a while before we realise what is going on. The expectations and demands of ourselves, and from others, often drives out the balance required by body, soul and spirit and we are gradually depleted and diminished.
It’s not a new experience. Wise people have always known that the continual rhythm of seasons, beginnings and endings are there to remind us that the whole person is created to live in harmony with creation. And that’s the way we have been made by God, to be part of the whole of creation, something beautiful and unique and the seasons of life are to be embraced if we want to remain healthy and whole in body, mind and spirit. When they are embraced life can make more sense, be more mysterious and puzzling, be sweeter, be more challenging, and often, more fulfilling. A passage from the book of Ecclesiastes reminds us of this and invites us to take stock of our lives and the harvest we can benefit from personally and share with others; it begins, ‘for everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven’. The passage can be found in Ecclesiastes chapter 3 verses 1-15.
Rev Meg Kirby
Yattendon and Frilsham