A Time For Everything

This Lenten season I find myself more introspective than usual, reviving the art of silence that I have not practiced since I was last on retreat. There was a time I wished I could live in silence on a hill, far away from the crowd and the city noise. Well, guess, what, I got my wish! Now all I need to re-learn is to silence my mind.

There are certain biblical passages that always speak to me, and grounding me when things tend to slip out of control, or I find myself amidst a lot of noise again. This is one of my favourites, and if you have followed the blog long enough you will know that I have referred to this a couple of times. Nevertheless, it called to me this evening:

A Time for Everything
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.

– Ecclesiastes 3, 2-8

I just posted the photograph the other day but I keep returning to it, especially today, in conjunction with the passage above. This is the year where it becomes clearer to me more than ever that there is a time and a place for everything. What we want is not necessarily what we need at that particular time, and this is a tough lesson to learn.

I wanted change, but I needed to move.
I wanted freedom, but I needed to risk the unknown first.
I wanted silence, but needed to live with the noise.
I wanted the grace of solitude, but needed to the tragedy of duty.
I wanted a home, but needed to first be homeless.

In order to understand and reconcile what we truly desire and need in our lives, we often have to go through the worst in order to learn and recognise truth and find that elusive safe harbour. I suppose I am still looking for my true north, after decades of heading in the wrong direction.

Yesterday I walked up the road to throw the garbage. In the little field field next to the bin, there was a fresh patch of daisies. Xico the cat kept me company all the way and I thought to myself, where else can I go and pick wild flowers for my kitchen window accompanied by a faithful and grateful cat, with the sun on my back, fresh clean air, and absolute silence that is only broken by the occasional barking of the dogs? I sound like an amalgamation of cliches tonight, but that is the irony of it all, my life has become everything that the poets and philosophers wax lyrical about. People keep asking whether I miss life in the big city, the convenience of it all. Sure, sometimes I do, but after 55 years of living entirely in noisy, thriving gigantic cities, I want nothing more to do with it. And the longer I live here in The Shire the more difficult it becomes to return to “civilisation” as such. I go for the people I want to see, not for the sights and sounds.

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,

The time for searching has ended, now is the time to accept;
The time to push and fight is over, futility has shown me the light and it is time to give up;
The time to keep and store is long gone, now is the time to shed and discard that which is no longer needed for the journey ahead;
The time to tear is finally behind me, and mending my soul and silencing the mind is now the priority;
The time to be silent has come.
The time to speak will follow in due time.

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