Do you remember the song “Turn, Turn, Turn” by the Byrds ?
The lyrics are taken almost verbatim from the book of Ecclesiastes, as found in the King James Version of the Bible – though the sequence of the words was rearranged for the song. Ecclesiastes is traditionally ascribed to King Solomon.
Ecclesiastes Chapter 3 verses 1-8
New International Version
1There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:
2a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
4a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain,
6a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
The Biblical text proposes there being a time and place for all things: laughter and sorrow, healing and killing, war and peace, and so on. The lines are open to many interpretations, but as a song they are commonly performed as a plea for world peace, with an emphasis on the closing line: “a time for peace, I swear it’s not too late.” This line and the title phrase “Turn! Turn! Turn!” are the only parts of the lyric written by Pete Seeger himself. Way back in 1959, Seeger put the lyrics to music. He recorded it in 1962 but the song did not become an International hit until it was recorded by the Byrds in 1965. The song was later featured in the 1994 film Forest Gump.
So even though it was put to music in 1959, and recorded by the Byrds in 1965, the message and request for world peace is still needed today in the year 2010.
The song is also notable for being one of a few instances in popular music in which a large portion of scripture is set to music.
Ok so after explaining all of that what do we really get from the verses?
Does it mean that there is a reason for everything that happens in our lives the good and the bad – and that everything happens when it is time for it to happen?
Well yes, there is a time to plant and a time harvest, a time to laugh and a time to cry, a time to keep some things in our lives and a time to discard others, a time to be born and a time to die. We all understand those times in our lives.
So does that mean that we should just sit back and let everything happen – if that is the way it is meant to be? Are we just puppets to be led from point A to point to B – with no choices and no say in the matter?
No! I don’t believe that – but I do believe that things do happen in their time and for a reason. Now who or what determines that time and reason is the real question.
Some people believe that God controls our lives. That He punishes us and rewards us here on earth. That He controls what happens to us to teach us lessons. While others may argue that everything is happenstance, chance, accident, coincidence or serendipity. And still others may call it by names like fate, destiny, karma, luck, fortune or kismet. And others may argue that if God gave us free will, why would He then control what happens to us? Why would he create us just to be puppets under his control?
If you believe in reincarnation, you might argue that we live many different lives to accomplish many different things, that we have to experience all things on this earth – good and bad. Well, that might shed some light on why such terrible things happen – even to good people.
Yet, invariably, when something so horrible and terrible happens that we can’t understand the meaning of it – why do people often cry out “Why did God let this happen?” –or – “Why did God do this to me?”
But – Did God let it happen?
Yes, terrible acts of nature are called Acts of God – even by insurance companies. But are they really acts of God? What about in our everyday lives?
Say in love for example: Have you ever wondered why a certain relationship didn’t work out, especially when everything seemed so perfect. You got along well. He or she came into your life just when you really needed someone. And you seemed to be so happy together…maybe for a short time or for years. You just can’t imagine ever being apart…but …for a reason unknown to you – the relationship ends.
Maybe you just seem to drift apart or maybe it ends badly with one of you ending the relationship abruptly. Or maybe the other person met someone else…
Do you think that maybe you were put in that person’s life to keep him or her in that place at that time – so they would be there to eventually meet that other someone else? There are so many variables in our lives if we really sit down and think about cause and effect. Maybe you were keeping each other company for that certain amount of time to bring each of you to the next step in your lives.
But it hurts, if you are the one who has been left behind, your head reels, you are filled with unanswered questions. You are filled with pain – yet you feel hollow and empty at the same time. You spend days and nights going over every single thing that may have led to the breakup and you question yourself, “What did I do wrong? What is wrong with me? Why did he or she leave me? I felt we were so right for each other – what went wrong?”
Well maybe, just maybe… you didn’t do anything wrong. Maybe it was just the season and the time for the relationship to end. The breakup may have happened to bring you to a certain place in your life that only that particular person could bring you to. Maybe you had to experience life in that way with only that person but – only for a time – just for a time, just in its time and season and for a reason.
What happened later that might not have happened if that particular person had not come into your life at that particular time?
If you had a relationship like that – one that had seemed so perfect – yet ended… After a period of time, did you look back and see the reason and say “Ohhhhhh so that is why he or she came into my life…”
Maybe you were planning to move away and then you met this person and suddenly you didn’t want to move and you stayed. Maybe that person came into your life at that particular time to keep you from moving… or changing jobs… or taking a trip… or getting together with someone else who may have taken you down a whole different path in life.
I know that when something like that happens you can’t look back with a clinical eye and analyze the situation right away – it hurts too much. But you do have to get on with your life. Give yourself time to heal. And it may be years before you can look back and see how that relationship changed the course of your life and – if you wait long enough to see it – the change is usually for the better.
The same thing can be said of friendships. Sometimes people come into our lives for a very brief moment in time. They are there just when we need someone for a specific reason. And there they are at that right time and then gone… with no animosity – just time to get on to other things, other places, other people.
So maybe now you are saying, “Oh that’s just a coincidence!” Things like that happen all the time. It’s just coincidence, that I missed the bus and while waiting for the next bus to come along I met the love of my life!
Or like what happened to my sister recently. She was going to a weekend retreat and at the airport she was kept so long in line while they went through all of her luggage, and each and every cosmetic item and bottle of lotion that she actually missed her flight. At first she was furious, then being a spiritual person, she calmed herself and handled the situation. As she waited to board the next plane she met another traveler going to the same retreat and they struck up a wonderful conversation. In fact that person was then able to take on one of her carryon bags when she learned that she was over the limit.
Oh maybe it seems to be just a small thing – but how fortunate. Coincidence? Chance? Luck? Fate? Or – a time and reason? People just seem to pop in and out of our lives when we need them.
Are you starting to get it now? What about that job you interviewed for and you were so disappointed when you didn’t get it? But… The next week or two later you interviewed for a better job – and got it!
Some people believe that we, as spirit, plan our lives so that we can live and experience many things soul needs to learn. And that we have shared other lives with many of the same people only in different relationships. Sometimes those people come into our life just to be there for one specific reason and then they go on with their own life, while others opt to live closely in our life as a brother or sister, mother or father, husband or wife or son or daughter or as a friend.
Just think of all the relationships we experience in our life. What about that stranger on the street who when passing gives you a beautiful smile that just lifts your day? Accident? Coincidence? Or someone who came into your life just for that brief moment to make you feel good when you needed it?
I like this idea – it just makes sense to me. It explains why the wonderful happen in our lives and, unfortunately, why the awful things happen, too.
Some things happen that seem so terrible that you feel you will never get over it – that nothing good could ever come of it. In my life, I can honestly say that I have had several times when I thought that. Things that were so devastating at the time that I thought I could never heal from it. Yet now, in spite of all the pain, the tears and the anguish – I can actually look back and see the good that came out of the devastating situation. Maybe you just have to live long enough to be able to look back.
The thing is when things seem so black and hopeless, struggle through it. Know that you are not alone. God is with you offering you comfort. There really is a silver lining around that big ole storm cloud – you just have to wait a little bit before you can see it – and say a prayer to the Creator for courage, guidance, strength and love to see you through. Many Blessings…