The saddest day of the year is fast approaching.
It is a day in which I am sullen and silent. Yeah, if you knew me, you’d be saying what? You’re always yakking about something and at least you’re happy.
Not on this day though.
For this is the day I have to switch from shorts to long pants. The summer fades and soon so will my tan. The leaves fall and the rain and dampness of fall turns to snow and bitter cold of winter. And somewhere along the way I’ll be forced into the switch.
And don’t even get me going about socks and shoes! I live in sandals and shorts all summer. From spring really. I walk, shop, preach, and write in them. Well, never mind what I wear when I write, if you knew you’d never be the same!
But why the sadness? Seasons are inevitable and so what if I have to wear grown up pants. Good points but there is an allegory happening here. Each season has a different impact on us. And we have to adapt to each one. In Canada the seasons are obvious. Winter means layers and thicker clothes. Spring, lighter jackets, Summer shorts and sandals, fall, long pants and sweaters.
And then there are the seasons in our lives. Unlike the yearly seasons, our lives are not limited to four and lives’ seasons tend to be way less distinctive. Often, we don’t even know what season we are in until half-way through it. This makes it hard to prepare.
For example, we have sudden tragedies and sudden victories. An illness or death begins a season of mourning and inward looking. A sudden promotion leads to a season of growth and outward looking. I know we can sort of rehearse events such as this as we look into the future and worry about bad events and look ahead and fantasize about good events. But when reality comes it often comes fast without the transition of summer into fall. It can go from summer, right into winter.
There are other seasons of life that are more predictable. Getting older is one with which I am familiar and still not completely happy about. I don’t mind the gray hair and the wisdom of maturity but the physical changes suck. A day of hard work which used to end in a coffee and a burger now ends with an aspirin and muscle rub!
Some people even have the nerve to compare the seasons of life with the seasons of the earth. This is great when you are young and in the spring of life. Not even that bad when you are in the summer of your life and have children and careers and the busyness of living. Then you find yourself in the long pants and sweaters of nearing the end of your so-called productive life. And of course, those dark dreary days of winter are just waiting around the corner. And then just like the summer plants, we die. The message here is to just accept whatever season you are in and do your best to put up with it.
Do you remember an old movie called a Man for All Seasons? I think it is about a king and starred Peter O’Toole. I don’t recall anything that much about the movie except the title. And the title reminds me of the need to have a solid foundation no matter what season of life you are in.
There is truly a man for all seasons and his name is Jesus. Fully God yet fully man is a mystery but when you’re God, you can do anything, even the impossible.
If you like to be pushed around by the seasons and are content to cry in the winter and dance in the summer that’s up to you. But if you want to learn to dance in the winter and the other seasons, then you need a good foundation upon which to stand.
So, as I approach that dreaded long pants day and what it means I will be the same as the months before. Rather than let the season dictate my emotions, I base my life on the man for all seasons. That way even in the darkest winter day, I will rejoice.