I love watching the seasons change. Each season has something wonderful to look forward to. I love how each one is temporary so even the harshest winter won’t last forever. In the spring everything is in bloom, and it feels like Eden, while in the summer the heat can be intense. But playing outside in the water isn’t nearly as fun without the high temperatures. In the fall, the leaves change. Their colors leave me breathless! The cool breezes are a wonderful contrast to the heat. And winter is a wonderful time to take a break and spend time inside tending to those things that got neglected in the summertime. Even the snow is a fun diversion when you’re bundled up and making snowmen. Then it starts all over again.
The principle of the seasons can be a great comfort when life gets crazy. One of my best friends just had her third baby. This new baby girl loves to be held, insisting on constant human contact. She won’t sleep unless she is in someone’s arms, and fusses whenever put down. My very patient friend manages to keep this baby happy while caring for her other very young children. She is one of my heroes.
But she worries that her kids aren’t getting enough of her time, that her house isn’t tidy, and her yard isn’t a show-stopper. She often feels lonely because parenting small children is often a lonely job. And she could easily feel resentful of the changes to her body and wardrobe that babies bring. But she is remembering the principle of the seasons. She is in the season of baby cuddles and sticky kisses; late night feedings and bedtime stories. She understands that this season will be over way too soon. The goal is to enjoy where you are and look for the good things in that season.
My parents just became empty nesters, and it has changed everything. When there were kids at home, I could always find my mom easily. I just called the house, and there she was. Now I call and find the answering machine. She calls me back to make an appointment to chat at a later time. Both my parents are busier than they have ever been.
I never expected this change and remember being put out that I couldn’t reach them as easily as I once could. However, in this new season of their lives, my parents are doing a lot of good. My mom is running the Family History program for several congregations. She is teaching people how to find their relatives who have gone before them. And she and my dad are finding chances to serve they never could have done with kids at home. They spend many hours serving in their local temple. They take wonderful care of many in their circle of influence who needs the extra attention only they can provide. My mom even volunteers at a homeless shelter near her home. She is seeking for the blessings of this season of her life, not dwelling on what she doesn’t have — and she is providing a wonderful example for all of us in the process.
A few weeks ago, my son graduated from preschool. For me this marks the beginning of a new season as he enters kindergarten in the fall. We are leaving the “very young child” phase and I’m really sad to see it ending. School will change our family and our schedule.
I am working hard to remind myself that there are good things that will come with this season too. I’ve never been in this season before. Unlike the seasons of nature, life’s seasons don’t tend to revolve. Even though that leaves me wondering what to expect, it is a blessing because I think I’d die if I was trying to live through some of my previous seasons again. The “newborn with colic and a husband always traveling” phase was particularly difficult. So here’s to life’s seasons — may we all search out the good and support each other through the bad, remembering that no season lasts forever.
This article was originally published on June 23, 2014. Minor changes have been made.
Patty thrives on all things creative. You’ll often find her in the garden pretending she is a suburban farmer. She loves meeting new people, and is devoted to her friends and family. In her heart she is a Midwesterner even though life has moved her all over the country. She believes in “blooming where you’re planted” and has found purpose in every place she has been. She has a deep and abiding love for the Savior and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And she loves editing LDS Blogs because it is a constant spiritual uplift. Not many people can say their job builds their witness of the Savior.
hi Sally wow you just summed up my life perfectly as if the Lord intended me to read your inspired article for an empty nester like me…. dragging my feet through it all, being emmersed in my self pity party for too long but you managed to make me feel happy that i have done my best as i pass through the seasons of life and must focus on the positive and look forward with an eye single to God with my dear husband we can still keep busy serving the Lord even if from our home as we cant get out much now me with my sore feet and he with his many ailments but the love and faith we have developed humbly for our Savior who has suffered more makes us live with more hope and dreams and happiness with our children and grandchildren all rallying around us everyday no matter where they live..thank you for pointing me to the right direction…