The Faithbook

A place of writing and reflection…

A Time for Everything: A Letter to Former Heartlanders

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There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.

—Ecclesiastes 3:1

This week I read a facebook post from a friend who was distraught it seems about her seemingly wasted years here in our community (you may have read several posts I’ve written on Heartland in the past).  She was burdened by the thought that all her time here was for naught as since she moved away she now feels ignored or maybe even just forgotten or just outright avoided.

Even one of my best friends has struggled with this very same thing, I know it tends to happen. I won’t make excuses.

In what can be a tight-nit community, people do tend to get use to the influx of people who come and go. Some are here for maybe a few weeks to a few months, where as others have been here for a number of years investing much time and many resources during their stay.

After a while it does seem kind of mundane in regards to those that come and go, but that should no less lessen their value in the eyes of others or in themselves—at least that’s what I would hope.

When my friend moved back home to her parents to continue her education it was very hard for her trying to keep in contact with several people. Maybe they were busy. So-and-so just had a baby/grand-baby. This one just got married so they’re all in honeymooner mode. Whatever the reason several people had just dropped contact with her since her move—several of which had been very good friends—so no one is immune to this strange syndrome that seems to go around.

And you can’t make excuses for everybody, but then again I don’t plan to. It’s something that happens and it can really hurt sometimes. It can happen even when you’re living here. I don’t think that there’s anyone whose really immune to it. It kind of just happens.

And it doesn’t just have to be in our community. It can happen anywhere. (On the other side I’m sure there are others who feel the same way about us.)

I’m sure some of you may have gone through something similar just in transitioning from one school year to the next. Sometimes when you moved up, not everyone else did or you may have been left behind while your friends moved onto to new relationships with other people.

It happens no matter where you are or where you go.

There’s no way around it.

But it doesn’t negate that time you had with those people or what you’ve invested in the lives of those no longer around you.

As much as we hate to admit it, everything (and everyone)  has a time and a season in (and out) of our lives.

But we never really like to think of it this way.

We’d much rather think that the friendships we have at this point in our life would continue on and to be honest sometimes it does—but not without work and not in every case. To keep any relationship takes work, but then there will always be those that will seem to disappear after a time and perhaps it is after its gone that we raise the question “What was the point?

Was everything I did for naught? The kids I taught? The time I invested in so-n-so? The days I spent doing that one thing with that one person?

I know sometimes it very much feels that way—and looks that way.

I’ve seen several people I’ve helped or spent this time on, or did this with or shared a room with go quiet the opposite direction when that time or season with them is over. Some i might hear from every once in a while, while other lost all contact, and maybe its my fault or maybe it’s theirs or perhaps it is both.

Either way a lot of people have come and gone from my life as I’m sure many have done the same for you.

It hurts yes, and sometimes just doesn’t feel fair, but as Ecclesiastes  points out, there’s a time for everything. Most people have read it or at least heard about it:

A time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,
 a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,
 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away,
 a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
    a time for war and a time for peace.

—Ecclesiastes 3:2-8

It’s a pretty well quoted verse. But no one really likes to deal with (or think about) the reality of it.

Fact is people of all sorts are in and out of our lives either for us to impact them or for them to impact us—or perhaps even both.  Either way length of that time is never really guaranteed. How much of an impact we make (or they make) is never really told to us. God doesn’t give us a written out time line of when things are set to play, how, or where. They flow according to what things He has for us with the greater overall out come always ever in mind.

The problem is we can’t see what the greater outcome is and sometimes we get hung up on it.

We get attached to the piece (the now) we have at the moment but hindsight is the only thing that gives us a slight glimpse at the bigger picture God is trying to build.

And sometimes that involves shifts (or seasons) of things in our lives.

Picture a farmer.

If a field he owned only got rain, and no sun, would anything really grow? No, not really.  The seed he planted would be washed out and the field flooded. On the other hand, if all he got were the sun and no rain, his fields would dry out and his crops would wither. It’s takes seasons of both to produce growth. (Deuteronomy 11:14)

The same is true with our own lives.

It takes various seasons to produce growth in us, and others—all of which have a small part to play in the overall end result—much like a good crop is to the farmer. It took different seasons and different things or conditions to produce what we see as an end result.

Nevertheless, we must be careful not get hung up on what could have been or what was the point in doing what we did, or how we spent our time. You’re only doomed to bring yourself down with this train of thought. Yes, I’m aware we all have our regrets of what and how we could have done things better perhaps (as everyone does), but continually dwelling in the past will hurt you more than help you.

My advice, friends, is to continue upon the path God has set you and what He has before you. If there are those past relationships that still call you to hang out, then do so. If there are those that do not or even seemingly avoid you, by all means don’t be angry, or dwell on the hurt that comes with it. Know that they were there for a season and not without rhyme or reason. Your time and resources invested, weather you see what it produces, has value. In all that you do don’t shut down in turn when you believe you are being shut out. Let God do the leading—as hard as that maybe—and know the end result will be much better than what we had originally thought.

I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that people will fear Him.

Whatever is has already been,
and what will be has been before;
and God will call the past to account.

—Ecclesiastes 3:14-15

The Faithbook 2014

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