Monday, December 29, 2014

All Of It...

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven… Ecclesiastes 3:1

Except for the sound of clothes tumbling in the dryer, for the first time since December 21, the house is quiet. On the 26th, our kids starting leaving: Josh left for Mexico with Sammy and her family, and on the same day, Meagan boarded a plane back to Seattle to resume another semester in pursuit of her master degree in psychology. Tears trickled down the cheeks of each and everyone of us when we parted. That kind of disengaging is painful, but unavoidable, especially, because as I said, we just came through a season -- within the Christmas season -- that was the best any of us remember and magnified by their departure. In the interim since then, Justin, Erika, Sandy, and the Amazing Wyatt have been here, and if you have been following any of these blogs, or my Facebook wall, you know that we have been having the time of our lives. Now, they too, are gone, winging their way back to the northeast.

Why the verse from Ecclesiastes?

The verse above, spoken by Solomon, is an introduction to a litany of changes that the adventure called Life throws at us. The ancient Sage reminds us that living is full of changing motions and emotions: from weeping to laughing, and from hugs to a lonely house. In an instant. While all the kids were here I had that truth amplified on several occasions…

As a chaplain, I am on call with CCA 24/7/365 days a year. Every 13 weeks we are off our in-business rounds schedule, and another chaplain covers for us. So, believe me, I am not complaining. I also work with one of the hospitals here in Columbus, GA. During the entire Christmas season and through New Year I am on call. Once again, no complaints. Being gifted to bring comfort to others brings no discomfort to me. But that commitment brought a reminder of just how quickly life changes. Life is a constant whirl of revolving seasons. Of course, like Solomon, I am not referring to spring, summer, winter, and fall.

No, I am thinking back to two different occasions. I was called in to minister to two different families who were deescalating a loved one (taking them off life support). It was particularly surreal for me. Why? Because I literally had to transition -- in seconds -- from rough-housing with my little wolf cub, Wyatt, to shedding my jeans and T and donning a suit and tie. Next, there was the process of disengaging from one season to engaging in another; an entirely different season. Sort of like being plucked from a sunny, edenic, invigorating, and exotic island and dropped into the frozen, snowy, life-sucking cold of Alaska in the dead of winter. That's how quick the seasons change when called upon to bring words of comfort to dear people carrying the burden of making the most final of all decisions -- it's time to die -- for a loved one who cannot decide for themselves.

Each time I got home I wobbled a bit trying to reengage in the sunshine of the prior season. Honestly, I felt a little guilt in doing so. But each night, in my thoughts, I returned to Solomon's words and reminded myself There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven…  and I prayed for the grace and wisdom and freedom to make the best of all the time God gives me… all of it. 

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