“Everything has a season”

Not to be confused with “everything happens for a reason,” the idea that everything has a 628x471season is actually a comfort to me in these days and weeks since the shooting at SPU.  It’s not that I think we should accept school shootings as inevitable by any means or that everything that happens occurs in the right time.  Surely, things happen out of season: lives are ended too soon; pain can linger too long; plants can root in the wrong soil.  But this must mean, then, that there is “right” soil.  The Teacher seems to say as much in Ecclesiastes 3:1-8:

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:

a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what 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 throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to throw away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.

And this?  This is a time to grieve.  A wise and gentle friend and former classmate and I spoke on the phone on Sunday and his words were balm: “Physically, we may move on from trauma.  That is, we may go on to different places and communities.  Chronologically, we move on from trauma.  The flow of time doesn’t give a choice there.  But in our guts, I don’t think we move on from trauma.”  This is not to say that there is no healing; it is to say that this is no heaven.  This world is broken; we should be broken by broken things.  The puncturing of our worlds by violence should not leave us the same.

And so this is a season:

a time to be born – delivered into our new reality –
and a time to die – to our prior ideas of the future;
a time to plant –
what we truly want to grow –
and a time to pluck up what is planted – our false allegiances and untrue comforts;
a time to kill – vicious circles of lies –
and a time to heal – by not rushing too quick to normalcy;
a time to break down – our walls that isolate us –
and a time to build up – the good and lovely we see in each other;
a time to weep – find a friendly shoulder or a caring ear to listen –
and a time to laugh – we have permission to accept joy, even now, too;
a time to mourn – honestly, forthrightly, openly and being open –
and a time to dance  – for Paul;
a time to throw away stones – the ones we might cast at others –
and a time to gather stones together to build something that outlasts our grief
a time to embrace – those and that which we love–
and a time to refrain from embracing – fear, regret, rejection, darkness;
a time to seek – the face of the Lord and the help of and for others–
and a time to lose – our old identity: our story is forever altered;
a time to keep – in contact with loved ones, and hope when we can truthfully–
and a time to throw away – trying to change the past;
a time to tear – when bad things happen, we should be forever changed–
and a time to sew – community, light and love–
a time to keep silence – in the face of unanswerable questions–
and a time to speak – honest words, and healing words when we have them;
a time to love – your neighbor as who you are, not as someone else –
and a time to hate – evil, sin and death;
a time for war – against the enemy and the forces of destruction–
and a time for peace – in our confidence of the promises of the King.

 

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"No other gods"

June 26, 2014