Seasons of life | Community columns

About four years ago our family moved to Fairmont when I became a pastor at the Baptist Temple.

Although I remain confident in God’s direction regarding this move, there were two additional benefits to moving. First, this Mountaineer fan slashed his commute time to Morgantown by an hour. Second, my wife and I had the option of buying our own home rather than living in a church-owned parsonage.

We had lived in two different parsonages and although they offered a convenient option, Rose and I missed having a place we could make our home. What we have enjoyed the most so far is the landscaping. Believe it or not, I really love lawn care. I also developed a definite interest in plants and shrubs.

Over the past four years, we have added, replaced and repositioned dozens of factories. We really only had one rule: we only bought perennials. Everything we bought would be planted somewhere. Our reasoning was that annuals are generally a waste since they only bloom for one season. Why buy a flower that will only last one growing season when we can get a plant that will potentially last for decades?

Then something changed this year. I was convinced of how I viewed part of God’s creation as a waste. As the scriptures remind us, everything has a purpose and a season (Ecclesiastes 3:1). While we generally love the longevity and reliability of perennials, annuals add spice and variety to life.

Likewise, there are seasons of life which are just that, one season. Good or bad, they come quickly and leave even more abruptly. As I revel in the beauty of our recently planted marigolds, I know that their lifespan is limited. In less than three months, they will have succumbed to seasonal frost.

It’s really easy to miss aspects of life when we see something as only temporary. In a sense, all of life is temporary. There is serious danger in missing out on God’s blessings because we are too busy to stop and enjoy today. The Scriptures remind us that there is no promise of tomorrow (Matthew 6:34).

Rose and I have been in a series of transitions for some time now.

Two years ago we moved our firstborn to WVU dorms. This weekend, we moved our second child. In four years, we plan to move our youngest child somewhere. It would be easy for us to anticipate what will happen.

As we cautiously waited for an empty nest, we did our best to focus on the present. In fact, I think many of us are so busy looking to the future that we never fully enjoy the present. But as James writes in his epistle, our life is like “a mist which appears for a little while and then disappears” (James 4:14). Appreciate what you have today because it only lasts one season.

One of my favorite poems to share at a funeral is “Nothing Gold Can Stay” by Robert Frost. This short poem reminds us that life is constantly changing and there is really nothing we can do to stop this cycle of change. Instead, we should embrace the seasons as they approach, never losing sight of God’s presence in quiet or unpleasant times. And for this season of life, it also means being ready to buy marigolds and begonias again.

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