As I look out my office window, I can see the change of seasons as the leaves begin to take on the many colors of fall.
I am drawn to how easy the trees accept this change. Do they know that with this change there will soon be another and their leaves will be gone, leaving them bare?
Yet, they change with such beauty and grace as they drift off to slumber for time. When they awake, it’s as if they have a new life and are even more beautiful than ever as the buds breakthrough and the green of spring covers their branches with life.
Why can’t we be more like the trees? God created us with the same changes, if we would only stop resisting change.
We go through life wanting things to remain the same, or even go back to the way they were. We have our times when everything feels so beautiful and colorful in our lives and we want those times to go on forever.
But our winter comes, and we don’t want the beauty to fade away. It is only for a little while, and then our new buds start to grow, and God has given us more beauty than we knew possible.
As I look back over my life, I am so grateful that I did not remain in the beauty of my early years of faith. My hair is now thin and gray, my beard has lost its brown color, and l have a few less teeth than when I was young.
I saw a meme on social media the other day that made me laugh. It said, “I love being over 50. I learn something new every day... And I forget five others.”
The writer of Ecclesiastes long ago told us, “Everything has its own time,and there is a specific time for every activity under heaven: (2) a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to pull out what was planted, (3) a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build up, (4) a time to cry and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, (5) a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to hug and a time to stop hugging, (6) a time to start looking and a time to stop looking, a time to keep and a time to throw away, (7) a time to tear apart and a time to sew together, a time to keep quiet and a time to speak out, (8) a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.
My apologies for the lengthy text, but I didn’t know where to stop such beautiful words from King Solomon.
With each season of change, my faith life has grown more beautiful and has produced more fruit.
When I was young, like most, I couldn’t wait to grow up. Like most, I thought I was invincible and could conquer anything the world threw at me. I couldn’t wait to get my driver’s license, finish high school (albeit the Vietnam conflict was going strong and my draft numbers were 13 my junior year and 6 my senior year), and then go to college to be a journalist. Thankfully, they began peace talks the fall of my senior year and the draft was suspended.
Little did I know that God had other plans for me when I felt the call to enter seminary with the hopes of a career in religious broadcasting and journalism.
Now that I’m older and approaching retirement age, I find myself in the twilight of my life and my career. 60 is the new 40, 70 is the new 50, etc.
We hear about this supposed phenomenon all the time. With better access to health care, it means that people are living longer today, we’re healthier, and we’re enjoying life more.
All that is great. With good health care, I hope to live beyond the biblical age of threescore and ten. As the Psalmist reminds us, “The days of our life are seventy years, or eighty if we have the strength. Yet the best of them are only hard work and sorrow. For they are soon gone and we fly away.” Psalm 90:10
But I also find myself quoting a line from one of my favorite baseball movies, “For Love of the Game.”
“Billy Chapel... isn’t pitching against left-handers. He isn’t pitching against pinch hitters.... He isn’t pitching against the Yankees. He’s pitching against time. He’s pitching against the future, against age... and, even when you think about his career, against ending. And tonight, I think he might be able to use that aching old arm one more time... to push the sun back up in the sky... and give us one more day of summer.”
So it is with me.
One more day of summer.
One more day of our youth.
One more day of trout fishing.
One more day.
Whatever season you are in right now, God is preparing you for more beauty in the next season.
Embrace the change.
Remember, “Everything has its own time, and there is a specific time for every activity under heaven.”
Thanks be to God.
Rev. Frank Chlastak began work as senior minister of First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Poplar Bluff in 2015. He is a graduate of Northeast Louisiana University and New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and has served congregations of the Christian Church in Louisiana, Arkansas, Virginia, Oklahoma and Missouri.