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Wednesday, February 06, 2008

A Time for Everything

I stayed up late last night gorging myself on political junk food. The districts around St. Louis have not reported yet! Wow, she seems to be leading in California by a lot, but with only 1% of the votes in. Huckabee's going to win Tennessee too?!

Then, just before going off to bed, my brother said, "Oh, hey, I forgot to tell you. Dad called and the doctors said that there really isn't anything more they can do for Grandma, so . . ." Grandma is the matriarch that defines our extended family. She was strong enough to be a princict captian in 1952, strong enough to come back to Indiana, without her husband, in 1980 because she knew Indiana was where she needed to be, strong enough to drive the "old ladies around," in 2004. Last year she started feeling weak, which was unheard of despite 86 years. It seems impossible that she would be in her last days.

Then, this morning I got a call from my mother and father. He went in for a scan to determine the effectiveness of his last round of chemotherapy; there is no evidence of Dad's incurable cancer. None. I could not believe it, and for that reason Dad put Mom on the phone. I still couldn't believe it and asked how the oncologist reacted. Mom said he was dumbfounded, touched.

And so I give you the following from Ecclesiastes, complete with a bit that illustrates the author's profound ambivalence. If it helps, in the last paragraph substitute Universe for God.
There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under heaven:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,

a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,

a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,

a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain,

a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,

a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,

a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.

What does the worker gain from his toil? I have seen the burden God has laid on men. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live. That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil—this is the gift of God. I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that men will revere him.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-14 I know there is nothing better for me to do than to be happy and do good while I live.

3 comments:

Josh said...

Oh, Jim, I'm sorry about your Grandmother, but I'm so happy about your dad.

Ecclesiastes is my favorite book of the Bible.

Christian said...

I echo Josh's sentiments. I'm very happy to hear about your father, and saddened to hear about your grandmother.

JimII said...

Thanks for your well wishes and concerns.