Autumnal Equinox – Lessons in Time

Fall Colored Flowers

A cool breeze is beginning to blow into New Orleans. Here we are at Fall again, happy to see the seasonal wheel keep turning. Each time that we experience another of our quarter annual cyclical shifts I am reminded of one of my favorite Biblical verses, Ecclesiastics 3:1 “To everything, there is a season and a time to every purpose under the heaven”. This simple saying has become more poignant the more days I’ve been on earth. To me speaks of patience and endurance, both qualities of character that do, thankfully, increase with age.

Regarding patience, being reminded that “To everything, there is a season” helps me to understand that things take time to be planted, nurtured, and to grow. Many, many times I have forgotten this truth and frustrated myself by trying to do these things and expecting results at once. I have also, metaphorically, planted crops at the wrong time and season and have watched them wither and die because I could not wait – I wanted it now. I’ve come to understand that there is much wisdom in heeding time and giving it its due respect by learning when to act when to pause and to be patient in my expectations of outcomes. For me, it took a whole lot of trial and error, literally and figuratively banging my head against walls, but I did finally learn that quite often the time the fates deem best for things to happen differs slightly from when I think things should happen and that the best thing I could do with the between times learned to chill. You don’t see leaves having anxiety attacks because they have to wait to change color? We can learn much from them!

I recall driving across the country in a little two-seater with both a chihuahua and a kitty lying on my lap between my legs and the steering wheel. The rest of the car was filled with luggage and we were in the Deep South pushing through a rainstorm. All of a sudden my windshield wipers stopped, forcing me to pull off to the side of the road. There I was in the middle of nowhere on a long stretch of empty highway in Alabama.  The last thing that I wanted was to be stuck in that downpour in a car too full to breathe. I was ticked. This even happens when you’re spiritual by the way but when you are spiritual you learn to relax a bit quicker and I did. I just waited out the rain singing along to my favorite CDs and when skies cleared I got back on the road. After driving aways I came upon traffic. There was an accident up ahead that, according to my calculations, I missed joining by having had to stop for a while. Now some may cry coincidence, and you may be right, but for me, it was an example of “and a time to every purpose under the heaven”. Often we can’t put the pieces together as to why something happened without hindsight. The trick is to endure until more of the story is revealed. We each travel our own roads, with twists and turns that are leading us to destinations yet not known. Relaxing into what life hands us makes it more endurable.

I conclude with one last verse from Ecclesiastes to further illustrate my points; “a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted”. I wish you all the patience to wait for the best season for your plantings and the endurance to stay to pluck that which was planted. When you possess both of these skills, time will work kindly for you, and life’s wheel will start turning in your favor.