To everything…there is a season…Ecclesiastes claims, the Birds (not the angry ones) sang, and ’tis true. The trees, the leaves, the plants of the field, all change with time. And, so too, the ages of a man or a woman. And this we all know by a particular age- or will one day know. But life is so much more complicated than that, as Plan D changes into Plan E, so far removed from the Plan A we dreamed about when we were still wearing teenage haircuts and sporting waistlines that somehow elude the present evolving pull of gravity. Life is a complicated stretch of seasons, and often those seasons do not come into complete focus until they pass on…
So I sit by my computer contemplating how it has taken me three years to discover the principal spiritual purpose of this particular season, and why, after all this time, I failed to see the season for what it was- only a season. In our great intelligence we believe that somehow this season will last so much longer than the previous one…but often that is not true.
Seasons, like an old bookshelf or bookcase, have bookends. Today, I rarely see the portable bookends, but the analogy should be recalled in order to understand how a life’s season is set. Chapters of each seasonal saga form books in our lives, and these are set off by the bookends- a beginning one and an ending one. Most of the time a dramatic event marks a solid bookend, and we know then that a transition stage- the blank space on the shelf between the sections of books- will take over until we are firmly established again in a pattern of books that make another season.
It is to this blank section on the shelf that I have jumped, not finding a bookend nearby yet, and hoping I do find that solid bronze or metal reminder, identifying the beginning of the next season. I do not fear this space, it is neither purgatory nor limbo, it is simply a space. I pray it remains blank until I can plainly see the other bookend. Meanwhile, I can watch the other leaves of books accumulate around me, as each person collects more seasons between shelves of this library. And soon it will be my turn to set the bookend against a new book, a new chapter, a new season in the continuing sage of life.