One of life’s wake up calls is the first time you look in the mirror and see wrinkles. It reminds us how much time has passed, and unfortunately, if you are a glass-half-empty person, it can remind you how little time is left.
American blues singer Bonnie Raitt puts this point across in her song, “Nick of Time.”
I see my folks are getting on
And I watch their bodies change.
I know they see the same in me
And it makes us both feel strange.
No matter how you tell yourself
It’s what we all go through,
Those lines are pretty hard to take
When they’re staring back at you.
Nothing is more constant than change. As we grow older our bodies change, our lives change, our employment changes, our family changes, the world changes.
In the third chapter of Ecclesiastes, Solomon reminds us that life, that ever changing experience, is all about timing.
1 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
2 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
3 A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
5 A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
6 A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
7 A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
8 A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
EXPECT AND ACCEPT CHANGE (verses 1-8)
Change is inevitable and we should accept it when it comes. Resisting change will only set us up for disappointment. People who embrace change and set their lives by nature’s clock are able to enjoy each new season.
ACCEPT LIMITATIONS (verses 9-11)
Unfortunately, religious environments can be breading grounds for guilt. They are not designed that way, but if we forget Solomon’s advice and we try to live every season all at once, we fail and, as a result, feel guilt.
A young mother with children in grade school and Jr. High may not have the same freedom a woman whose children are all married would have to do important “expected” things like write her personal history. To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose.
If we fail to accept limitations, we can spend valuable days fretting over what we should be doing and missing out on the joy of what we can be doing, and are doing.
After living through many of life’s seasons, Marjorie Pay Hinckley said:
“The trick is to enjoy life. Don’t wish away your days, waiting for better ones ahead.”
ENJOY LIFE (verses 12 – 22)
After reminding us there is a time and a season for everything, and advising us to accept our limitations, Solomon ends his writing with some of the wisdom he was famous for – Enjoy life!
Enjoying the good results of our labors is a gift from God. (verse 13) God wants us to be happy today. He doesn’t expect us to do EVERYTHING today and then allow ourselves to be happy. He wants us to do everything we CAN today and rejoice in what we accomplish.
Above all, we should enjoy life. No matter what we can accomplish or when we can accomplish it. We should not be so cautiously intent on being the perfect parent, spouse, employee or neighbor that we miss out on the joy that is life.
“Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, “Wow what a ride!” – Marjorie Pay Hinckley
Video: Turn, Turn, Turn (3:19, Source – YouTube). The Byrds set Ecclesiastes 3 to music.
QUOTES ABOUT LIFE AND JOY
The only way to get through life is to laugh your way through it. You either have to laugh or cry. I prefer to laugh. Crying gives me a headache.”
Find joy in everything you choose to do. Every job, relationship, home… it’s your responsibility to love it, or change it. — Chuck Palahniuk
To see more quotes, visit the QUOTES PAGE for LIFE AND JOY.