A human life has seasons much as the earth has seasons, each time with its own particular beauty and power. And gift. By focusing on springtime and summer, we have turned the natural process of life into a process of loss rather than a process of celebration and appreciation. Life is neither linear nor stagnant. It is movement from mystery to mystery. Just as a year includes autumn and winter, life includes death, not as an opposite but as an integral part of the way life is made.
-Rachel Naomi Remen
The other day Tom met a friend for breakfast.His friend is in his mid-twenties and he is a school teacher.During their conversation Tom asked his friend what his plans were for the summer.His friend went on to describe a 4-6 week cross country adventure he will be taking—exploring America’s national parks, monuments, and other iconic sites.
Tom was very happy for his friend but he has to admit he is a little envious also.Having gotten married and having children very young, and soon to be a father of four, with twins on the way, this is the kind of adventure he has never had and a part of him fears he never will.Michael, like Tom, was also married young and had two of his three children while he was in graduate school.And with the birth of his third son, a son born with multiple and severe developmental disabilities, he too never had the opportunity to have an adventure like that.Michael also experienced those feelings of envy.
But in reflecting and processing those feelings together, both of us realize that in spite of the adventures we have never gotten to have or experience, and perhaps never will, we would not trade our lives and families for anything.
Life is full of seasons and we realize that different seasons bring different responsibilities and joys, different challenges and different opportunities.While they may not bring adventures like cross-country road trips, or mountain climbing expeditions, or spending a year off the grid on a South Pacific island, each season still brings its own set of adventures.And when we reflect upon them and recognize them, we find ourselves being very grateful for what they are.
It’s natural and tempting to look at others’ lives and think that they are more exciting, more interesting, more adventuresome than ours.It’s natural to look at other seasons that might come or already have come and gone, as being better than the one we are in.But ultimately, thinking that serves us no good—we are left always wanting more, wanting the next big thrill, but we are susceptible to missing the season we are in now and all its joys and beauty that it brings.
At the same time, while finding gratitude for the season – this moment – we are in now, it is also essential that we know ourselves well enough to understand what will make this current season even better.Both of us realize that in this season there are certain things that we need.For Tom, knowing that as he and his wife search for a new house for their growing family of four children under the age of six, he needs a place with a yard big enough to plant a garden and play ball with his kids.For Michael knowing that he and his wife have six respite weekends a year (time where their son is cared for by others) they guard them sacredly as essential to the health of their individuality and their relationship together.
So whatever season you find yourself in currently, enjoy it and be grateful for it.Remember that you are in this season for a reason and that there will never be another like it and it will be gone all too quickly.