The season we cannot avoid...
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.
~ Ecclesiastes 3:1
As I walked outside this morning to let the dogs out, I could see among my flowers the effect of the freeze that we had along the Gulf the other night. Where the foliage was exposed, frost had settled in the early hours of the morning. Someone had asked me if I was going to cover my flowers earlier in the day, and I really had not thought any more about it until I had woken up the next morning and noticed the blanket of frost covering everything in sight.
Unlike my youth, when walking out into the grass on that first morning with frost, where the grass would crackle under my feet and I would take in deep breathes of air to produce a foggy cloud to celebrate the cold morning, I knew that this would turn the leaves of my tropical plants black, and the last of summer flowers would succumb to the seasonal change.
As I took this photo this morning, thinking about the zinnia that once celebrated the summer sun, I found myself thinking of all the people I have met who have been told that they too, would succumb to a season that they could not avoid. We are like the flowers. We do everything that we can to avoid the season that we know that will arrive, and overtake everything that we once knew.
The person who wrote Ecclesiastes reminds us that there is, "A season for all things."
As I look at the fading flower, I think to myself, "Had you just covered this flower, it would still be okay," but then I remind myself, "At some point, this flower will fade away, and I will still be left with a flower that has died."
But then I realize the deeper truth. Because this flower has lived, I now have the seeds to plant in the spring, to offer up more flowers next year.
Because this flower has lived, I will again have flowers next spring.
This flower still matters.
So much of the time I have to remind my hospice patients and their families that they are still living, even when they are facing a life-limiting illness. The act of dying will always include life. Even as I look at the fading flower, I am moved by the beauty that it still holds. It draws me in, to look, and to reflect. The fading flower makes me realize the seasons that I have lived, the current season I am experiencing, and to know that even if I am touched by something that causes me to begin my final season, that I will remember that I am still alive, and that my life has meaning, even to those who watch and witness as I surrender to the season that I cannot avoid.
This morning I am reminded that even the fading flower has beauty, and I am grateful.
Stay in God's grip!
G. Todd Williams (c) 2020
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Rev. G. Todd Williams lives in the Houston metro area and is a Hospice Chaplain at Essential Hospice, Webster, Texas, and is an ordained Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) pastor.