“To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven.” Ecclesiastes 3:3
The days are growing shorter, the leaves are beginning to take on their fall colors, and the summer gardens are quickly becoming a memory. The once warm days are now replaced with cooler, crisp mornings that remind us that winter is right around the corner.
Preparations are underway for the changing seasons. Already I brought in a few of my favorite plants so they wouldn’t freeze. In my flower garden, most of the plants are entering their dormant stage as they wait until spring returns once more. Inside I am putting away my summer wardrobe and bringing out coats and warmer clothing.
The changing seasons are predictable by many signs that God provides for us, but the seasons of life can never be predicted. James 4:14 says, “For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away”. None of us know what tomorrow may bring for ourselves or the ones we love.
Recently, a dear friend moved away to be closer to her daughter. While the deterioration of her health began some time ago, everyone was shocked when her doctor stated she could no longer live by herself. I never realized this season of her life would come so quickly. Even though we weren’t as close the last couple of years, it was always comforting to know she was nearby.
Her departure brought to mind other dear friends who moved away or went home to heaven. In each case a part of me went with them. It was a wakeup call to remind me to never take people for granted. Although we might not get the chance to see each other on a regular basis, we are blessed to have technology to stay connected.
I may not have the opportunity to spend time with dear friends and family, but I have the telephone, e-mail, and Facebook to keep up with them. It is the next best thing to keep in touch when a visit isn’t possible. It doesn’t always need to be lengthy, just long enough to say, “I’m thinking of you and miss you.”
Of course there is nothing like sitting down with someone and having a heart-to-heart talk that goes beyond what is known as “small talk”. One thing I cherish is the times when my Mom shares stories of growing up and her memories of family members I never knew or passed away when I was a child.
The same is true with my friends and other family. Through the funny stories and stories of tragedy I have a rare opportunity to get to know a side of these people not often shared. It is these life experiences that inspire and encourage me.
We may feel confident that spring and summer will return, but what if Jesus returns before then? We can prepare for the next seasons, but will we be here to see them arrive? The same thing can be said about those we love. Is it wise to say we will get around to that visit, phone call, email, etc.?
Take time to be a friend to those you care about, not a fair weather friend (one who is your friend when everything is going smoothly), but a real friend like the one in Proverbs 18:24: “A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother”.
Don’t wait until it is too late to have that talk with someone and then face remorse for not listening to that inner feeling. The gift of your time is invaluable and once used can never be used again. Spend that gift on those you care about. It only takes a moment of time to make a difference in the lives of others.
Debra Whittington is a longtime resident of Tucumcari. Contact her at: firstname.lastname@example.org