Ecclesiastes 3:1 reads, “To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under the heavens.” This has always been one of my favorite scriptures. It reminds me that I don’t have to accomplish everything all at once. It also reminds me that it’s okay to move at my own pace and not compare myself to others.
Growing up in eastern Idaho, I was able to witness the change of seasons throughout the year. The winters were very cold with blustery winds and snow-covered fields. It was so cold that often my father would make me an ice-skating rink in our front yard. My brother and sister enjoyed skiing, but I had juvenile rheumatoid arthritis and I would get too cold to stay up on the mountain. My legs would get cold and my knees would swell and get too stiff to move properly. I developed a love for ice-skating and with the warmth of my home close by, I was able to enjoy developing a winter sport. My best friend and I had dreams of being in the Olympics. Winter brought the holidays and Christmas. I rode in the car on Christmas Eve to see the lights; singing carols was always a favorite of mine–the perfect way to end the year with family and friends.
The winters would eventually turn to spring as the tulips and daffodils emerged from the ground. Fields of wildflowers replaced the snow-covered mountain tops. Soft, fluffy, white and black lambs scampered through the meadows. Soon, gardens would be full of vegetation, and fruit trees would imitate popcorn popping as the blossoms appeared. The scent of lilacs filled the air.
As the school bell rang for the last time, children would explode from the school buildings ready to experience the joys of summer. Family vacations brought road trips across the western states to see whatever wonders my dad could find for us to explore. Local swimming pools would open their doors and crowds of people would rush in to cool off or bask in the sun. Personally, I took advantage of every opportunity to be outside. Days at the lake would result in painful sunburns that would turn into a golden, sunkissed tan. Late nights under the stars would be a perfect ending to a sunny day.
My favorite season is fall. In my youth, my father would take us on Sunday drives up the canyon to witness the changing colors of the trees. My father was a conservationist and took every opportunity he could to teach us about nature. I wish I had paid more attention. Autumn temperatures are perfect for enjoying the outdoors and the evening sunsets. The scents of pumpkin spice and crushed leaves seem to fill the air.
Halloween ushered in the beginning of the busyness that comes with the holidays. Looking forward to Thanksgiving and Christmas always made school harder for me as a child. The anticipation of family gatherings and spending time with loved ones made it hard to concentrate on necessary tasks. I don’t remember any one Christmas being better than another, but I will always remember how I felt on Christmas Eve as we hung our stockings on the fireplace mantel one by one in our new pajamas mom made for us each year. New Year’s Eve was always special as we were allowed to bang pots and pans on the front porch as we welcomed in the new year at midnight.
I had a happy childhood, and as a mother I have tried to give my children memories they too will cherish. Family traditions are important to me. I treasure time spent with my children and now grandchildren. The seasons in my life have brought me much joy.
Just as seasons of the year come and go, so do the seasons of our lives. As children we find ourselves wishing for time to hurry up. We can’t wait for the next big thing to come along. We create countdowns as we await the next exciting event to happen. I remember marking the calendar as I anxiously awaited my wedding day. All of eighteen years old, I couldn’t wait to become Mrs. Hill. As adults, we realize how quickly time flies and wish we could slow down Father Time.
The seasons of our lives include childhood, teenage years, and finally adulthood. As a child, we can’t wait to be grown up as we play “family” or “office” and pretend to be adults. We don’t realize, as a child, how lucky we are to have no worries and just be carefree. We are in such a rush for things to happen right now.
As we become teenagers, we are still in a hurry. Dating is a highlight of the teen years. Getting a driver’s license and the freedom to go wherever we want gives us a sense of what is to come as an adult. Under the supervision of our parents, we gradually become a little more independent.
I was blessed to find my sweetheart while still in high school. We have been married for over 40 years now. That seems impossible as I’m sure I can’t be that old. Time flies! The days that lasted way too long as a child now seem to quickly rush by.
The season of my life as a newlywed brought many changes. I got married just two weeks after I graduated from high school. I was the youngest daughter in a family of six with one younger brother. Needless to say, I was daddy’s princess and fairly spoiled. I went from daddy’s girl to wife in a very short period of time. There was a lot to learn.
Nine months into our marriage we decided to start a family. We were blessed with a healthy baby girl nine months later. This season brought more changes and challenges. While both of us were very young, adjusting to life as parents wasn’t easy. Our first child was sick a lot and we faced hardships we didn’t always know how to deal with. Learning to work together was key to our success or failure as a young family. Two and a half years later, we were blessed with daughter number two. She was a much easier baby, but still brought challenges. With a husband finishing up his college degree, I was often left alone. After his graduation, he was busy pursuing his career and trying to make a name for himself. While he was a great husband and father, he was frequently away from home. Although I wanted more children, my husband was hesitant due to financial concerns. We chose to wait a few years before making that decision.
When we finally decided to add to our family, we faced an unfamiliar season. Getting pregnant had been easy in the past. This time was different. Early in the process, I knew something wasn’t right. It felt like a very long, bleak winter. Waiting for the sunshine and warmth of spring to breakthrough seemed to take way too long. Over the next several years we underwent tests and surgery to find what could be causing the problem. After unsuccessful attempts with infertility drugs and three artificial insemination procedures, we made the decision to pursue adoption.
This season brought new trials: another long winter waiting for the sun to breakthrough. Eventually, it did and we were blessed with a healthy baby boy. Soon after, I became pregnant and another new season began. Another active baby boy joined our family. Years later we would experience the same type of season when we again faced infertility, a miscarriage, and a high-risk pregnancy due to my age. At the end of that season of life, we had another baby boy and adopted a little girl. The season of life raising six children spanning twenty-one years had its own challenges, but many days of sunshine mixed in between the storms. Our youngest son just began his service as a missionary for our church and we are facing another unknown season of our lives.
Watching the colors of the leaves change reminds me that life is beautiful and is constantly changing. As the leaves fall from the trees and nature prepares for winter, we are also reminded of how necessary different seasons are in our lives. Some seasons bring more challenges than others but they are all rewarding in their own way. When the first snowfall of winter comes, my eyes will water as they do every year in anticipation of the white-covered mountains I saw in my childhood.