To everything, there is a season…. (Ecclesiastes 3:1)
A long time ago in a what seemed to be a galaxy far, far away, I lived my life as a teacher, youth pastor and coach. I loved what I did. And, hopefully, I made a difference in at least some of the children who passed by me on their way to learning who they were, what they wanted out of life and who they would become.
Then, suddenly, it all changed for me. After being incredibly healthy for all of my childhood and into early middle age, my body began to fall apart. Three heart attacks, a knee replacement and an epileptic seizure later, I finally realized that my time for those particular activities was over. I fought long and hard against giving up those things. I wanted to hang onto what I had always loved and what I had always done for most of my adult life. But I could feel my ability to do those things slowly slipping away.
No one likes change. Especially when that change separates us from what we have always loved. But, seasons change. It seemed like, in the springtime of my life, God gave me certain abilities and desires that led me to work with children. As I moved into the summer of my life, I began to recognize and develop those talents–realizing that working with children was indeed what I was meant to do. In the fall of my life, circumstances began to change–making what I had always done more and more difficult. Then as I entered into the winter of my life, I found myself completely separated from the things that had always given me the greatest joy. That part of my life had ended and I felt lost.
But after the winter came a new season with new challenges, different abilities and desires. I’m now involved in things that I would never have imagined twenty years ago. Never having been a father, I find myself sometimes being looked at as a father figure to those who actually are fathers. I’ve gotten closer to my family and have been able to help out when things have gotten tough for them. I volunteer my time to the area library and do yard work for our town’s historical society. I’ve rekindled the love I’ve always had for art and have helped put on a local art show each year for the past seven years. There are a myriad of things that I now have the time and the desire to do. None of these things are more or less important than the things I used to do. They’re only different. And they are things that I would never have had the time or the inclination to do when I was younger.
Seasons change, but life keeps moving on. We either keep moving and growing through each new season, or we die on the vine.