“To everything (turn, turn, turn) there is a season (turn, turn, turn). A time to be born, a time to die. A time to kill, a time to heal. A time to laugh, a time to weep. A time to build up, a time to break down. A time to mourn. A time to cast away stones, a time to gather stones together. A time to love, a time to hate, A time of war, a time of peace. A time you may embrace, a time to refrain from embracing. A time to gain, a time to lose. A time to rend. A time to sew. A time for love, a time for hate A time for peace I swear it’s not too late. To everything there is a season (turn, turn, turn). There is a season, (turn, turn, turn). And a time to every purpose, under heaven.”
These lyrics sung by The Byrds adapted out of Ecclesiastes in the bible are a poetic way of describing the way we all pass through many different experiences and phases in life. In the same way, nature adapts to the changes in the atmosphere that allows it to continue its purpose no matter the weather. As Summer turns into Fall, the leaves change colors. While it is beautiful and comfortable for a time, soon those vibrant colors wither away and become almost entirely void of color and life. What was once vibrant and exciting is now dead and falls from its high glorious perch. What is left of the tree stands tall as all the the plant that once were full of life turn shades of brown and grey that prove to be entirely uninspiring for most that see it.
The change of seasons is reminiscent of life and death and the grief that comes along with it. When a loved one is in in the process of dying we often see the vibrancy of life drain out of them. As the leaves fall so does the life of the one who the season of sickness has taken over.
For months life seems barren, cold and dark and at times it seems that it will never end. In the grand scheme of the earth, Winter is the season of grief. There are many parallels between the life of a griever and the winter season. During winter, signs of new life and growth are few and far between. The temperature drops and only layers of clothing can keep us warm. In the same way, we can not stay warm alone in grief, we need the support of the layers that surround us. We often also discover our need for someone to spark the fire that keeps us alive as we brave the long winter of grief.
Sometimes winter drags on months longer than expected. We thought the sun would shine but here it is April and the air is still cold and uninviting. We must remember that even when the Winter is long Spring does come again. The buds emerge from the bare branches. Day by day the sun shines more. New life and growth returns where there was only barrenness. The same leaves and flowers that were lost in the fall do not return but their influence on life continues. Their seeds bring new life into all the places they have landed and the old remains of the leaves provide essential nutrients for the new growth. You can once again see the beauty that the seasons bring. Just as the seasons turn, turn, turn so does life. Even when it feels that “Winter” will never end, Spring does come again.