Seasoning Seasons

Seasoning Seasons

As I anticipated my last hurrah with the 80’s decade, I reminisced the seasons of my life and the importance of each terrifying, exciting, and unique advancements of each.  My reflections carved out six.

As I made notes, I was acutely aware that everyone would not identify with my division of seasons but would have to sort out their own middle seasons allowing for illness, deaths, debts, schooling, marriage, children, divorce, businesses shutting down, etc. but the majority would likely have in common the first and last season. The first season is early life—lessons and impressions. Every season involves a journey of some nature, and each season runs into the next very naturally. During the preparation days, the same excitement and seasoning of the season is important.  The last season is self-explanatory.

Entering first grade must be very important because a couple of weeks before school began Miss Jenkins, the first-grade teacher, came to visit. I recall sitting quietly, prim and proper while Mother and she visited--a lasting impression. I felt very important and going to school sounded scary and exciting. Then on the first day, another significant impression occurred when Mom curled my bangs and took a picture of me alone—a first time experience that I could recall. Climbing onto the school bus along with my older sibs was surreal. But entering a classroom of first-graders who I didn’t know was intimidating; the first time I had ever been ‘on my own’.  I remember feeling nervous but excited, too. Being extroverted probably came into play.

Despite my eagerness to go to school, I remember how difficult it was to leave Mac at home, my constant companion who was 16 months younger.  We had many adventures together, especially while the older three were in school, climbing trees, playing in Salt Creek behind our house, roaming the fields around our country home looking for rocks, berries and hopefully some wildflowers to bring home to mom.  Once on a rainy day we climbed onto an empty closet shelf where we covered our arms with candle tallow. Mac and I had tea parties, made up games and played on the farmer’s straw pile. We had fun all day long and neither can ever remember cross words between us.

I loved every minute of school, even though it wasn’t long before I found my voice and was gently scolded for talking. The last day of school was the unhappiest day for me. I loved to learn and still do. We moved to another part of the county where 1st-8th grades met in a three-room school with a total of 70 kids—three teachers, and a music teacher who came once a week.  While I was in third grade, I inhaled the classes of the fourth and fifth graders.  In the 6th grade I learned what 7thand 8th graders studied.

When Daddy left and we moved to a small town near Mom’s parents, I entered the last half of 8th grade in a middle school. Going from a class of seven (four boys and three girls) to a classroom of 30 with four sections of just 8th graders was mind-boggling and breathtaking, yet very exciting. These are the years where kids begin to discover who they are, what they like and what they are capable of doing.

I was apprehensive entering high school because I lacked confidence, but my new personal faith kept me encouraged and excited.  I was delighted with the challenge of having many teachers and a variety of curriculum courses. I took college prep along with some business and music. Highschool, especially in 11th and 12thgood grade points are important if further education is in the offing for the career choice.

Season One is 2 yrs. old-12th grade, when character-building begins as early as good traits are taught verbally and by example.

Season Two involves choosing how you intend to support yourself by attending a trade school, internship, toward more study, or occupation. Each of these options shapes the rest of one’s life, with emphasis on seasoning seasons with research, career counseling and/or branching out with different subjects. Good character must be kept strong and the attitude always on a positive note.

Drawn from Ohio State, as many as 50-75% of all undergraduate students change majors at least one time before earning a degree.  Roughly one-fifth of recent graduates 21% are working in jobs, either full or part-time, that aren’t related to their major area of study.

I had no idea what I wanted to do except for wanting to be a minister’s wife and to be able to help people with relationships and to be happy with their lives.  I loved to read, and my friends sought me out for counseling. Jim and I met and graduated from Moody Bible Institute in Chicago and Jim went on to complete Baylor University and Southwestern Seminary, requirements for the Master of Divinity degree.

Season Three is the time people actually do what they project, discovering what direction that they want to go and choosing partners. The important ingredient is the preparation, excitement and personal confidence that they gain.  For us, this season included rearing four children, weddings and grandchildren which continued for many years. Ideally, throughout this season good character and a positive outlook are kept intact, though not easily, throughout all the seasons, and across all boundaries, strengthened through tough trials and tribulations blended with spiritual growth and dependence on God’s love, presence and enabling.

Season Four involves gradually giving up the routine of a position that you’ve enjoyed seasoned with anticipation and continued growth and preparation for retirement which means doing less of what you’ve been doing and a little bit of what you’ll want to do when your job/career ends. This season also requires much seasoning because it involves perhaps 20 plus years and is very important to your contentment and purpose in life and astute planning.  As long as good health prevails, retired people travel, get involved in ministries at home or abroad or find part time employment in a completely different field.  Be aware that in times of success and prosperity character laziness can creep in.

Season Five is the season I’m experiencing, still working because I’m able and thoroughly enjoy counseling, writing, teaching and gardening, but it’s necessary to be willing to eliminate any activities that are adversely affected by health and strength. Season Five’s limitations are difficult. Seniors need to be patient and willing to accept the suggestions from their children/caregivers meant for their welfare.  As purposes in life change, we must adjust and add new purposes that fit into our lucidity and physical ability. Maintaining character is still a must.  Emails are welcome. Perhaps a follow-up blog.

In him we live and move and have our being (Acts. 17:28.) is the confidence verse that helped Jim and me make our way through the tough times of the seasons, especially as he experienced his final days.

Salt-seasoning makes everything taste better as Jesus taught, “You are the salt of the earth”. (Matt. 5:13). Honesty, generosity, patience, and love are seasonings that we all need to acquire and use. I am looking forward to Season Six increasing the seasonings of peace, joy and expectation. Some people are anxious about entering this season because they lack knowledge about the journey.

My heart fails; my spirits droop, yet God remains! He is the strength of my heart; he is mine forever!   Ps. 73:26 (TLB).

Jesus encouraged: “Do not let your heart be troubled…In my Father’s house are many rooms…I am going there to prepare a place for you.... I will come back and take you to be with me…” John 14:1-3.   “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6 (NIV).

The Apostle Paul taught: For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, and eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. 2 Cor. 5:1 (NIV).