While in God's Grip!
"To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven."
~ Ecclesiastes 3:1
Years ago I took a trip to my childhood home in Southern Indiana in search of my inner child. For anyone who has overcome a life-changing event, you suddenly realize that planning for the future takes on different criteria. I thought that by visiting where I grew up, I might once again be inspired to dream again after surviving my illness.
As I drove into the valley I knew as "Rattlesnake Holler" growing up, I passed by the old one room school house that has now been converted into a home. As a child we would have Halloween parties in this old abandoned building.
As I rounded the bend, the Catholic Cemetery with graves from the early 19th century, greeted me. I remember years ago that sometimes the bus would drop us off here, and then we would walk the two miles back into the valley to where our home was.
There is something about returning to childhood places. They possess a magical power. As I parked and began to walk the rock and tar chipped road, I could see where our fence line ran up the hill. I thought of the times that I had walked that line, checking for breaks, removing limbs, and dreaming of what my life would be like once I grew up and left the valley.
While I hoped to find the inner child that was filled with dreams, I discovered an aged man who had experienced much. I'm not sure what I had hoped to discover.
One of the things that we often forget that as we grow older we see the world from different places. Two year old children see the world from the height of a two year old. As a teen, we discover the world has boundaries, and we learn what it means to be "us" and "them."
With each new decade comes new life encounters. Relationships, perhaps marriage, maybe children, the death of loved ones, and new careers.
God remains constant, while with each new chapter in our life changes.
I love living along the Gulf, but I miss the noticeable changes of season of my childhood. Remembering that first morning you would step out and the air would capture your lungs with crispness and grass would crunch under your feet because of a heavy frost.
It's interesting how time works. Seasons are marked by seeds being sown, and time for harvest. Or along the Gulf it's marked by hurricane season and not hurricane season.
Scripture reminds us that we are Ecclesiastical people with many seasons and chapters in our lives. Helen Keller reminds us that too often when one door closes, we spend so much time looking back at what we no longer have that we fail to see the open window.
I guess it's just our nature to want to look back, or to seek times when we were happy, or carefree. We must always remember though that we are moving forward, writing new chapters, leaving for us the memories and legacies that others will look back upon and remember.
Christ reminds us that he is with us always. You know it's true. Without realizing, every chapter, if I'm honest, begins with hope. Is filled with times of joy, but even in those hours or days when life was sorrowful, or filled with unknowns, God was present.
We may be people of seasons, but God is indeed forever. I hope you will look back and remember it with joy.
Stay in God's grip!
G. Todd Williams (c) 2017
Dear Lord, help me to make each page of this chapter in my life a powerful reminder that when I look back, it was filled with Your presence. Amen.
Rev. G. Todd Williams lives in the Houston metro area and is a Hospice Chaplain and ordained Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) pastor.