As I’m home for winter break and as 2016 approaches, I’m struck with the temporary nature of college life. I’m currently enjoying the Colorado Rockies, but only for three weeks. Then I’ll go back to my Dordt home, but only for a fifteen-week semester with fifteen-weeks of temporary courses, and that course-filled semester will be split by an eleven-day spring break. Then I’ll be home for summer break, but only for a month before I go on a three-week Dordt course in the Netherlands. Once I get back to the States, I’ll only stay in Colorado for one more month before beginning the next fifteen-week semester of temporary courses at Dordt, which will be broken up by a five-day heartland break and a six-day Thanksgiving break. During the four years I’ll spend as a college student, which is temporary itself, I’ll never live in one location or work on one task for an extended period of time – sometimes, it doesn’t even seem worth it to unpack my suitcase!
Solomon seems to understand best: “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8).
Right now? I’m in a temporary season of rest, a season where I can just be. Whether I’m reading for pleasure, waking up from a nap with my puppy at my feet, sipping on a hot coco in my wool socks, writing the poems I never got to last semester, or strumming on my ukulele, I’m enjoying this time to unwind. Even when I’m more active, snowshoeing with my family or slipping around on a toboggan tied to the back of a Ranger, I’m still enjoying this Christmas season for all it is.
In about a week and a half, I’ll enter a temporary season of busyness, a season where I’ll be whisked from class to rehearsal to meetings to homework back to class to a meal back to homework and hopefully to bed. It’ll vary drastically from my current season, but it’ll be good nonetheless.
And here’s the twofold application of life’s temporary seasons: If you’re not in love with where you are, if you’re not in love with the courses you’re taking, you’ll only be there temporarily – it will end! And if you are enthralled with where you are, with the courses you’re taking, and with the people you’re taking them with, you’ll only be there temporarily – it too will end, so you best invest yourself and appreciate every second while it’s alive! The fact that everything is temporary, that nothing lasts forever is part of the adventure that is life, is it not? And in my experience, this truth is it’s especially true in college.
So, as one temporary season ends and another begins, I’m unpacking my suitcase. I’m pouring myself into the season I’m in, cherishing it while I have it. Similarly, I’ll be ready to let this temporary season go and embrace the next when it’s time. That’s what Solomon advised, and since he’s sort of the wisest man to have ever lived or something, I have a hunch he might be on to something.
So, happy New Year! Happy new, temporary season of 2016! I’m going to get back outside now, since the powder’s freshness is temporary too. See you in the new, temporary semester!