Wednesday, March 13, 2019

A Time For Everything...Turn, Turn, Turn

When I was young…and that seems like yesterday in some ways…there was a popular song performed by a group called the Byrds. Here are some of the lyrics:

To everything (turn, turn, turn)
There is a season (turn, turn, turn)
And a time to every purpose under heaven 
A time to be born, a time to die
A time to plant, a time to reap
A time to kill, a time to heal
A time to laugh, a time to weep
To everything (turn, turn, turn)
There is a season (turn, turn, turn)
and a time to every purpose under heaven
A time to build up and a tiem to break down
A time to dance, a time to mourn
A time to cast away stones, A time to gather stones together
To everything (turn, turn, turn)
There is a season (turn, turn,turn)
and a time to every purpose under heaven

The song was based on Ecclesiastes 3, verses 1-8. It was a long time before I could read the passage in the Bible without wanting to insert “turn, turn, turn” at the end of each line. 

Longer still before I began to understand the universal and powerful truth in the verses. 

My camper became my writing retreat.
This week I found out that some damage done to my camper is extensive. So extensive it isn’t worth the reapirs. That may not seem like a big thing to most people, but its loss is significant to me in ways most people cannot understand. 

Tom and I bought the camper the summer before he died. We used it three times that summer and the plan was to spend January and February in Naples, Florida during 2015. That much further south than our home in Tampa is warmer that time of year. We’d sold our house in Ohio so we’d be “footloose and fancy free.” It sounded exciting and fun.

We had plans. But as the Bible says…or in this case, as the Byrds sing, there is a time for everything. “A time to be born and a time to die.” Tom’s time to die came in October that same year.

There’s also a time to deal with practical matters. I didn’t know what to do with the camper. I knew I couldn’t haul it anywhere unless I could drive without ever turning right or backing up. I first tried to sell it but that didn’t work out. Then I learned I could have it moved it to a seasonal campground and keep it there, camping in it whenever I wanted.

My "office" at the camper.
So in 2016, my camper was moved to a beautiful campground in Ohio called Pine Cove Campground near Wilmington. I could camp there whenever I liked between April and October. And I did. I could hear Tom’s voice saying, “You should do this! ”Sometimes I camped alone…though in a campground like this one there was always something to do and new friends around. Sometimes my family or friends came to visit. One of my cousins lived near the place where I kept the camper so it turned out to be a wonderful time for us to reconnect. Often, I would go up to the campground that summer and write during the quiet moments when my camping neighbors weren’t there. (Most people use the campground on weekends.) 

That camper served me well. 

I had plans for this summer at the campground. I hadn’t seen many of my fellow campers in a long time. During the second season, I moved into a new house and then turned around and moved to Kosovo. This summer was going to be different. I pictured myself at my little writing retreat churning out new books now that I was writing again.

But then there was damage to the camper. Water got in. Water is not good for campers. The damage was extensive. When the man I called on to make the repairs told me how bad it was, I cried. Right there on the phone. Poor man.

You see, the camper represented a piece of life I’d lost. It represented a connection to Tom and the dreams we shared. But as the song says, “turn, turn, turn.” There is a season for everything and a time I need to turn around and head a different direction. 

My daughter called me on the heels of my learning how extensive the damage was to the camper. She said, ”It served you well during a season of life when you really needed it.”

I halfway expected her to say, “turn, turn, turn” but she didn’t. But I am doing just that. I’m turning a different direction. I’m learning how to make it in this world alone. It’s the season of my life.

Turn, turn, turn…

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