“To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heavens.” – Ecclesiastes 3:1
According to the Bible in Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, “There is a time for every thing under the sun.” And even if you do not believe in the Bible, life has pretty much proven that this verse is unarguably factual. So now that we can agree on that, my question is why is it that we are really never prepared for “that everything?” I mean if life is really a test of how we will perform and respond during difficulties, how many of us can raise our hands to successful results when we find ourselves in the center of what seems like a surprise attack? To those that handle all things well, kudos to you, but you are probably having a lapse of memory.
I suppose at times we can all come to a place in our lives where we feel untouchable, invulnerable or far removed from unpredictable life events, yet life has a way of reminding us just how vulnerable and susceptible we are to anything and everything. Even as we read and listen to media outlets about life changing world events happening across the globe, there is still that part of us that says that cannot happen to me, my family or community…until it does.
It is there as we figuratively or literally lie on our backs wondering what the hell just happened, that we begin to analyze the facts and ponder in disbelief on an outcome that we simply never saw coming. So after we pick our faces up off the ground and make steps to recoup and move on with our lives, with things being forever different, those steps are not always so easy to make. Matter of fact, they are downright hard!
I believe theoretically we accept this as truth most of the time, however when it actually happens to us we typically think it was supposed to happen to that other guy, that other community or on the other side of the world. Unfortunately life does not always work that way and at some point we will all face tragedy, disappointment or an unexpected failure that we are forced to contend with or answer to.
It hurts; we cry, some of us throw stuff, become anti-social, despondent, angry, depressed or turn to substance abuse to numb the pain. Each one of us either know someone who has responded in this way or we ourselves have been there, or are currently there right now.
I believe seeking for relief is as powerful as gasping for air to breathe, because in reality that is exactly what it is. Our desperate attempt to survive, despite what we are facing. So how do we overcome, how do we advise someone else, or what are the next steps to take after we find ourselves empty and like the ones we have only read about?
Well I am no counselor, but I do have my own life experiences filled with unexpected turns, tragic outcomes yet ultimately with hope. Not simply because I always won or my circumstances worked out perfectly (because they did not), but because during the times of being down, depressed, angry, and in the dark, I discovered who I was. And initially I cannot say I was pleased with who that man was, but if it were not for my seasons of darkness, I am not so sure if I could truly appreciate the light that I now fight to live in.
Yes, even today I continue to fight to live in the light. My life experiences of loss, divorce, molestation, avoidance, depression, disappointment and loneliness (to name a few) has taught me to appreciate each day and to live without apology or excuse.
Many of the richest experiences that we will ever have occur unplanned and at what seems like the worst time possible. They disrupt our plans, destroy our structured way of living and literally alter our very lives, but they can equally teach us something about who we are like nothing ever could, when we chose to become still and listen.
What becomes difficult is our ability to accept the ugly facts that boldly come to the surface about who we are. No one wants to face them or accept them as their own, but denial never changes the facts. If we have fallen short of the grace of God, what does that really look like for you specially? I say it looks ugly, is desperate, full of despair, painful, empty, yet one still trying to survive.
Are you not tired of living a false life? One that begs for attention to a false you, a hopeless you, a you that is only a shadow of its true self? A lie that is seemingly easy to perpetuate, but at the end of the day you are the one that suffers the loss and is alone.
The one with the most toys does not win, even though that is what society teaches us. The one rich in character is the one who truly changes the world for the better. Think of that one person you know who fits this profile. No they are not perfect and may have had many issues to contend with, but if they made the choice to accept their failures and own what belongs to them without shame, the healing they experience changes the landscape of their very lives and the ones around them.
Perhaps you are that woman or man who has suffered for most of your life, and is all too familiar with disappointment, but something in you did not allow you to end there. You realized that you are more than the circumstances of your past or recent present. Although the darkness ran deep, each step you have taken to reach newness and hope, has brought with it a reality that inexplicably transforms the way you live and think. You choose to live by a new paradigm and the world may never really understand, but the ones impacted by your presence know who you are, but more importantly you do as well.
So when you have the time, read Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, for there is a time for everything. And that everything will at some point happen to you. It will change your life, expose your weaknesses and cause you pain. How will you respond? I can almost guarantee that like me you will not be ready, but I believe that is by design. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable and get prepared for the layers of the old you to get peeled back, so that the new you can finally come to life. It may take years, a life time even, but it is so worth it and all those you influence will be blessed and forever enriched by your authenticity, but take it from me, you will be blessed the most.