Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A Time For Everything

          “Hi my name is Starla and I am an eternal optimist…”  If I were to ever attend a 12 Step meeting, this would be why.  You would know me before I said a word.  I would be the girl wearing the rose colored glasses.  Once we spent five minutes in conversation you would find another very distinctive trait – the girl with a heart the size of Texas!  Yep that’s me – all five foot, one and half inches of bright and cheery girly girl lugging around this huge heart!  Having an optimistic disposition has been both a curse and my saving grace through the years, I suppose. 

            An optimist most certainly can find their way through adversity.  Goodness knows I have – more times than I could count!  Point scored for optimism and a character trait for which I am most grateful!  By the way, my middle name is Ann.  You could actually call me Annie I suppose.  Why?  Well because I’ve spent a lifetime singing,  “the sun will come out tomorrow…”  You know something?  It always does – no matter how dark the night!  That’s not really a point given for optimism, that’s just a freebee given by life!  I have a confession to make though.  Through my former years in anticipation of the dawn, I’ve slept through some spectacular starry nights.  While longing for sunshine, I’ve shielded myself from cleansing and refreshing rains and strength building stormy winds.  You see, that’s what an eternal optimist does.  It’s also why an eternal optimist often misses the whole point of being an optimist in the first place.  This is where eternal optimism loses a point or two.

            So how does an eternal optimist use their inherited knack for finding the good in every situation to their best advantage and ultimate good?  Well, I have learned the answer to this through the years and through some less than “sunshiny” days and situations.  True optimism must find practical application for every circumstance good and bad – not just unrealistic expectations filled with “champagne wishes and caviar dreams.”  Optimism is only beneficial when we embrace the fact that there is a time and purpose for every single thing we face in life.  Remember the old song by the Birds called “Turn, Turn, Turn?”  It was taken straight from ancient scripture… 

To everything - turn, turn, turn
There is a season - turn, turn, turn
And a time to every purpose under heaven.

            It doesn’t take long on this earth to discover that there is a time for every single thing.  Some days are better than others.  To only embrace the sunshiny days, the fun-filled nights and the stellar experiences robs life of extraordinary moments hidden in the mundane, the routine, the somber, the ordinary.  To reject those moments is like asking the composer to omit the pauses and rests; to leave out the sustaining notes, the somber tones.  Or it is like asking the artist to only use pastels when painting a sunset or fall foliage or winter storm.  There is beauty in silence, in darkness and there is something to be gained from even the most difficult of circumstances in life. 

This is not the typical “Happy New Year” post for me, but it is a message that I feel more compelled than ever to share.  You see, the truth is, this coming year will brush our canvas with strokes of joy and pain, dark and light all creating unsurpassed beauty.  It will orchestrate a symphony of majestic fanfare, somber pauses and melancholy melodies – all of which will touch a part of our souls that most needs reaching at that moment.  This is what the New Year brings – time once again to experience life – every aspect of life fresh and new.  This year my desire is to not just day dream about what can be, pray about what should be, plan what I desire to be, or complain about what isn’t, but to live - really live and experience what is; and to allow each experience produce something in me that forever changes me and those I come in contact with each day.  There is a time for everything and to deny ourselves of certain experiences and moments really takes the joy and fullness away from all the other moments.  Life isn’t much of a life if it is just one big party.  And it isn’t much of a life if we take every moment too seriously either.  So laugh a little, cry when needed, think awhile or refrain from thinking at all and through each moment in time this coming year, be grateful to say “isn’t it great to be alive!”  Happy New Year!!!

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 do workers gain from their toil?  
I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race.
 He has made everything beautiful in its time.  He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.  I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live.  That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God.  (Ecclesiastes 3)