"Everything has its own time, and there is a specific time for every activity under heaven"
~ Ecclesiastes 3:1
This morning I was up early and on the road to attend the funeral of one of my patients. As I look over the familiar Ecclesiastes text that speaks to the seasons of our lives, inside the worn cover of my Bible, I find bits and pieces of the chapters I have known in my life.
A postcard from a peacemaking conference I attended, a small bell made of yellow construction paper from a Christmas service, a business card of a colleague who died a decade ago, a bulletin from a church service from 2003, and two paragraphs from a graveside service for the infant child of a friend. All are chapters. All are what the writer of Ecclesiastes shares about as the words, "a time and a place for all things," continues to mark time and my memories.
This morning as I passed familiar mile markers on the highway while making my way into the city, and I listened to the news on the local NPR station, all I could think about was, "What can I say that will allow others to realize that every chapter of life is important?"
And then I think of the space of time before I began my drive into the city. My neighbor shared of two deaths. A friend who died unexepectedly, and the death of a young child who drowned. We are already a community that is still grieving the deaths of children in our local high school a month ago, and these just seem to add to that grief. As we hugged one another before leaving our driveways, we took the time to pray together for God's understanding, for peace, and for God's presence.
Every moment we live is important.
As I sit in my car, preparing to go into the funeral home, I notice workers standing and talking while the rain gently falls. I notice the mud on their boots and I am reminded from dust we are created and to dust we shall return.
It is time to walk in and to talk of chapters, and seasons, hoping that somehow these last words will be lasting words, while I am reminded that I am in God's grip, and so are you.
G. Todd Williams (c) 2018
Rev. G. Todd Williams is the author of the book, "Remember Me When..." and is a former hospice chaplain and pastor.