don't misinterpret the times

Don’t Misinterpret the Times

How to interpret the times of your life? This was my solution.

Last fall I made a decision not to work. My job is seasonal. I was agonizing over the upcoming winter: work, don’t work, work, don’t work, work, don’t work?

I don’t work from mid-December through mid-March. I was debating whether to find work for January and February or just take them off. I had a bit of savings I could use, and a lot of catching up to do in my personal life. It wasn’t a bad idea, really, but here’s the voice I heard in my head: “Are you insane? A savings is for emergencies. It is not for laying out of work so you can unpack your storage unit and catch up on your files.” It was a loud women’s voice, sort of screechy.

She had a point, though. So, round and round the voices in my head went. One voice wanted to take the winter to catch up. The other thought it was irresponsible and lazy. (That voice was a bit judgmental.)

So, how did I decide? I remembered Ecclesiastes 3, a time for everything. Here it is.

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

    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

What a shame it didn’t say, a time to work, and a time to use your savings and not work. But, it gave me a place to start. I asked the Lord, what season am I in?

I decided I was #2 and #3.

The College Son and I had just uprooted ourselves (we moved). I had torn down the old house (metaphorically speaking), and gone through some killer emotional mess. I conclued I was moving into a time to plant, heal and build. I was busy building my career, but had totally neglected the home front, the personal stuff. My soul was weary and my house littered with moving boxes. I needed to get both in order.

Decision made. I took the time off.

I wasn’t big and brave about it, but I did know it was the right thing to do. Sometimes, you just know what you know, screaming voices inside your head not withstanding.

Here’s what I did with that time:

  1. I took a 2 week trip with a friend to the California coast to visit gardens, spent a week with my kids when my granddaughter, Sadie Jane, was born, and slept a lot (healing).
  2. I cleaned out storage units, unpacked boxes and bought some necessary furniture (building).
  3. I discovered my little town better–the local coffee shop, movie theater and other grocery store (planting).

Here’s what I learned:

  1. There are beautiful gardens in the world. Go see them.
  2. Nesting is necessary, as fundamental part of growth as working is.
  3. Sleeping late is good, healing and restorative for your body.
  4. Watching your granddaughter’s birth is joy. Don’t miss it.
  5. Nothing is a good word. We should use it more.
  6. Money really isn’t everything. There is a time to spend savings, and, of course, a time not too. Don’t make the mistake of misinterpreting the times.

Last fall I made a decision. I decided not to work.

Don’t get me wrong. Work is in my top five blessings, but I learned that there is a time to work and a time to not work. As a horticulturist, I know all about the seasons and the how plants respond to them. I know that after a growing season, plants need a break and go into dormancy. I’m just learning that in my own life.




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