Ecclesiastes 3 is about the seasons of life. There’s a time to live and a time to die. A time for war and a time for peace. A time to plant and a time for harvest. Ecclesiastes 3:1-8:
There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
2 a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
6 a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8 a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
“There’s a time to keep silent and a time to speak.” As an introvert, when I’m hurt or upset, I do well at the keeping silent part! As for speaking, I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings or say something that I’ll later regret. I tell myself that it’s better to stay silent or if I do share it it’s better to write it down so that I can word it just right and make sure what I say isn’t hurtful. Is this really better? There’s a time to be silent and a time to speak. A time to write thoughts down and a time to speak them out loud. 😉
The day after Thanksgiving I was feeling really upset about some things and needed to get out of the house in order to think and clear my head. I took a little pilgrimage to my grandparents’ farm and then to the church to visit their graves. As I was standing at their graves I started thinking and wondering did grandma ever get upset over the same things that I did? Did she ever feel alone, unheard, ignored, and taken advantage of? Did she ever feel worthless? As I stood there with tears streaming down my cheeks, feeling my own hurt and pain, and wondering if grandma had struggled with similar hurts, I realized it was too late to ask her but it is not to late to ask my mother, aunts, and others. It’s not to late for me to open up and share my own struggles and the lessons I learned.
Let’s take off our masks and share our struggles. Just think of all the heartaches, loneliness, shame, and sorrows we could help dissipate if we would open up and be real with each other. Think of the relationships we’d build, the mentors we’d have, and all the wisdom we’d glean if only we would open up and share about our seasons of joy, sorrow, heartache, pain, laughter, and dancing.
In closing I’d like to share my poem The Mask which I wrote on May 14, 2014 on The Dance of Life:
There is a mask I wear.
It covers the hurt and pain.
When I put it on,
No one sees the sorrow and the shame.
hides my daily struggles;
The difficult journey I am on.
It keeps me from explaining
All the sadness and hurt I’ve born.
Yes, this mask it protects me
From having to be real,
But it keeps folks at a distance;
How does it make them feel?
What would happen if I threw it off,
Shared my trials and pain with others,
Opened up and became real,
With family, friends, sisters, brothers?
What if I shared about my struggles
As a wife, mother, and person?
What if I opened up about
My struggle with depression?
What if I tossed away
This heavy mask I wear?
Would others remove theirs
And we’d all begin to share?
Would we all open up
And each others’ burdens bear;
Walking beside each other,
Listening, helping, always being there?
Lord, help us to take off our masks no matter what season of life we are in. Help us to be real with each other and help each other through the trials we are in. Help us to learn from each other and walk hand in hand through life together. After all, that is what your intent was for your children. In Jesus name, Amen