It’s been a sad day, and it’s been a challenge to quell the little bursts of bitterness. I took flowers to my mother’s grave and sat on the grass beside her headstone as the sun lowered in the sky. I could hear her voice in the distance saying, “For everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven.”
My mother loved the Bible, and it was among the last books she could read before Alzheimers disease took away her words. She raised up her kids in church and planted a lifelong reverence for God in us. The Bible verses I learned in my youth come back to me at times when I need to be reminded that life has an eternal value.
Pain is a good teacher. I’ve been driven to my knees in pain, and come away from it stronger, kinder, more forgiving. We all need so much grace in this life and we find it hard to give. We keep getting lessons in grace because we have poor memories, I think. I keep learning about forgiveness all over again.
I came home Wednesday and laid down on my bed and let the memories of my father and mother’s business play through my mind. Many of them come from long ago but they rolled out vivid and textured, beautiful in their way. I prayed for my brothers and others whose livelihoods are affected, and then I went to an AA meeting, where the topic was gratitude. I looked up the verse from Ecclesiastes that had come to me at Mom’s grave. I was reminded that in the end, the best we can do is enjoy our labor and do good in our lives, and be grateful for the gift.
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
What profit has he that works in that in which he labors?
I have seen the task, which God has given to the sons of men to be occupied in it.
He has made every thing beautiful in its time: also he has put eternity in men's hearts, so that no man can find out the work that God does from the beginning to the end.
I know that there is no good in them, but for a man to rejoice, and to do good in his life.
And also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labor, for it is the gift of God.