I had a dream that I bought a kiddie pool.
At a store in Juneau.
It was on sale for $1.99 and there was a blowup snake in the bottom of the bag and I remember thinking in the dream that my kids would love whacking each other with that.
When I went to check out, the clerk asked me what I thought I was going to do with that here in Juneau.
I smiled and reminded her that the time will come.
The time will come. That’s not entirely true because two of my kids are in college and one is almost 6 feet tall, so I don’t see them jumping into a kiddie pool together, but I do believe they still would whack each other with the snake.
Yes, it’s cold and there’s more snow on the way, but the time will come. It’s not here yet, but I can live more in the present time when I have one eye on what will come.
When the kids were little, I learned the gift of seasons. I would remind myself, “This is the time I am in now, with spit up down my back, exhausted, and playing Barbies, but it is a season and not forever.” Living in seasons is different than saying, “this too shall pass.” Seasons help me live in the context of the present knowing a different season will come. Don’t cling and don’t despair. That’s some of the gift of seasons.
As the writer of Ecclesiastes said and the Byrds repeated, “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven” (Ecclesiastes 3:1).
Now is the season of snow caves. We built one in our front yard and all five of us plus the dog curled up to drink hot chocolate. It seemed like an appropriate time to read “The Cremation of Sam McGee” by Robert Service. If you haven’t read it this winter, then please do.
And then we talked about our resolutions for the new year. I’m not a huge fan of resolutions. New Year’s resolutions pack too much expectation and guilt into a season that’s already a bit exhausting, but it’s fun to check in about our hopes and dreams for 2022. What’s our vision for this year that will give us a sense of where we are headed so we can weather the seasons? I prefer that more than giving up binge watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
What is our vision for what comes next and how does that help us weather the seasons?
We recently read one of my favorite passages in the Bible from Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, “He has made known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure that he set forth in Christ, as a plan for the fullness of time, to gather up all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.” (Ephesians 1:9-10).
I can barely gather my purse, keys, and coat to get out the door, but the vision for the fullness of time as the gathering of all things in love and grace has seen me through many seasons when I felt scattered, disconnected, and overwhelmed. There are lots of images for the fullness of time, but I find comfort and strength in God delighting to gather all precious creations together.
The time will come. This season shall pass. What happens next?
Tari Stage-Harvey is pastor for Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran. “Living & Growing” is a weekly column written by different authors and submitted by local clergy and spiritual leaders. It appears every Friday on the Juneau Empire’s Faith page.