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Embracing Seasons, In Their Season

September 22, 2018

Kris Camealy



The first week of July my husband finishes building the deck on to the back of our house. That weekend we stand in the aisles of the home improvement store looking for patio furniture amongst the red-tagged, clearance chairs and chaises that were left. We inquire about a small wicker table that caught our eye—it’s damaged—do they have another? The sales associate tells us that, no, that’s the last one. They are moving the last of this summer stuff to make room for the Christmas decorations that will be on sale soon. While she double checks the inventory on her computer, she tells us that that morning’s meeting for employees, before the store opened, included talk about holiday scheduling and new Christmas merchandise that would be hitting the floor within the coming weeks.

“It’s still summer!” I said out loud to the associate while she scans the stock list for another piece of the patio set we’d like to purchase.

“I know”, she shrugs. “Retail is so crazy”. “It’s always so many seasons ahead.” 

So, we buy the last outdoor coffee table and the slightly banged up floor model of the patio set we’d set our hearts on. The upside of the store’s hurry to close summer down, is a generous discount, for which I am grateful, but as we load the van with our “end of season” treasures, I wonder if the cost for this forced transition may be steeper than we realize.

This isn’t the first time I’ve encountered the challenge of looking for items in their season. Bathing suit shopping begins in earnest in February, a full 3 months before any of the outdoor pools are even open here. Years ago, in the middle of one of the snowiest winters to date, we learned, much to our frustration, that snow boots must be procured in the late summer, since they are not stocked during the season of their actual need. The same turned out to be true for sleds. And purchasing Christmas lights in December.

 I cringe when I walk through the doors of our local big box store in August and see the beginnings of holiday accoutrement. Rather than bringing delight, the early sighting of the festive decorations feels like an invisible shove to my soul. Like I’m expected to be ready for the next season before the current one has even begun to transition. Hurry, it seems to say. If you wait, you’ll be too late!

Ecclesiastes 3 begins, “For everything there is a season…” and we read those old, true words and nod knowingly. Those of us who’ve lived enough years understand what this means—both literally and figuratively. We know the significance of the seasons in their turn. We know that to hurry grief is futile, in the same way that cutting joy off at the knees, causes its own particular heartache. Seasons of the heart, seasons of life, as well as the seasons of the earth, have their purposes, and it is the wise that navigate them all, in their season. In America, we live in the tight-fisted grip of an economically driven culture. We are consumers and as consumers, we live like sheep shepherded by corporations and conglomerates that determine for us, when the seasons begin and how long they last. We are trained to experience our seasons according to the market.

But this manufactured sense of urgency feeds a scarcity mentality—which is the opposite of a Kingdom mentality. A scarcity mentality looks at the world through a lens of fear, believing that there isn’t enough to go around, believing that the good gifts of God have a shelf-life. This is the opposite of a Kingdom mentality, a perspective that looks at the world through the lens of generosity and hope. A Kingdom perspective understands that God’s economy doesn’t function according to man-made markets and stock exchanges. Kingdom mentality embraces each season according to the abundance of God, with faith that God is always enough to meet the needs of His people—even in wilderness seasons (and maybe, especially in wilderness seasons). Not through products, but through the very person of Jesus. I can’t help but wonder, what does it cost us, when we confuse our seasons, when we hurry them, or worse—when we don’t honor them at all?

Transitions are a form of Holy generosity. One of the kindest gifts God has given the earth.These movements come to us like a prelude. They are as much a part of the whole movement as any season is.  

As Autumn turns her key and opens the door in these next few weeks, our rhythms inevitably shift. There is no sense in fighting it. Resisting this movement will not bring us any real joy. And to skip it all together would only leave us confused and disoriented. Embracing the seasons, as they come requires us to remain present, it requires us to resist hurry. In my head I hear the echo of Mary Oliver’s poem, Felicity, in which she reminds us that “things take the time they take”.  This one, profound and simple truth is like a hand on the shoulder of the one who’s rushing through the seasons. Slow down, its seems to say. Accept what is, in this moment. Let it (whatever it is—grief, joy, celebration, growth, and so on) take its time, have its fullness, exist in its entirety. Oliver’s words are Ecclesiastical—

For everything there is a season and a time for every purpose under heaven. ~ Ecclesiastes 3:1

 Transitional seasons have become for me, a sign of hope. They remind me that not only is there a season for everything, but that no season, even the most disastrous, lasts forever. This is not a moment to be hurried. This promise, when given room to expand and reverberate through our very lives, shakes our cultural confusion back into holy rhythm. Seasons change, thank God.

Autumn will cost us daylight. We will be tempted to feel hurried by the shortening of our days. Longer nights might tempt us to forget that the transition that can feel long and slow, is in fact, temporary. The summer dew and autumn frost both serve the same end. New life will eventually come from their work.    


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  1. Laurie b says:

    Soooo good!
    Thank you!

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