"For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under 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 seek, 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 for war, and a time for peace.…" Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
This week, Sage turned six-years-old. The morning of his birthday, I took a cupcake lit with firetruck red candles upstairs and entered his room gently singing "Happy Birthday to you..." His little eyes struggled to open, but at the sight of the flames, he remembered that today was his birthday. He shot up out of bed, and immediately ran over to the giant wall-sized ruler that hangs on the wall and said, "Mommy! Come measure me!!" He was sure that between the hours of 7 pm and 7 am he had grown a foot! When I pointed to the number, he groaned asking, "when will I be big?" Then, he sighed and ate his cupcake.
Every time Sage turns another year older, my birthday, only a few days after his, seems somewhat irrelevant. Perhaps it is the season of parenting that I am in, maybe it is my age, or maybe it is just the experience of understanding that years are merely an accumulation of candles rather than a sum of wisdom or wealth. It is, quite possibly, that I am just too tired to think about one more celebration in the long chain of Thanksgiving-to-Christmas-to-
Honestly, when Shannon asked me what I wanted to do for my birthday this year, I didn't hesitate when I said, "nothing." Of course, I didn’t mean that at all, but it felt good to name the joy-filled absurdity of our celebration season.
I think it is essential to pay attention to the seasons of our souls. Just as we know when it's time to pick an apple or plant an eggplant or to stop watering the withering shrubs, we know when it is time to sit, to rest, to dance and throw your body to the wind. In the same way, we know when we are called to let go of something, to relinquish fear and embrace freedom.
The next time you look over and realize that the burning candles are standing aflame atop "your birthday cake" let the season of celebration and affirmation of your soul usher you into a place of silent or screaming jubilation, remembering, "For everything there is a season and a time for every purpose under heaven".