To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heavens. Ecclesiastes 1: 3.
Twenty-sixteen marks the beginning of my seventh decade.
At age 10, I was a sixth grader. There isn’t much to say about this decade except that I liked to roller skate and go to movies with my friends. And it was when I learned how to bake cookies. I began a walk with God, but the trail was dusty and I didn’t always stay on the right path.
By my 20s, I was a young mother with a growing brood. Life was simple. I still skated occasionally. A crisis was unrelenting ear infections for my babies. Bliss was taste-testing warm lemon cookies on quiet afternoons. I became more serious about God, but my faith was untested.
In my 30s, I was divorced and raising children on my own. This decade marked wild shifts in my life. I had to leave the realm of wife, cookie baker, and boo boo kisser. I entered the domain, first, of employee, then, college student, and finally, career woman. I still baked cookies, but the children grew too tall for boo boo kissing. Faith became a refuge. Solid ground formed under my feet.
At 40, I remarried and was a new grandmother. That decade brought a career shift from the newsroom to the classroom. Presuming to teach others clues you into the vastness of what you do not yet know. There were valleys to navigate, mountains to conquer, ascents to celebrate. Adjustment in being a blended family. A son deploying. More grandchildren arriving. Cookies were reminders of our bond in quiet afternoons and holidays.
I was nearly 50 when I traveled to Asia to teach for part of a summer. When I came home, I went back to the classroom as a student trying to digest morsels of vastness. This decade saw the final launchings of my children and another son deployed. My father died.
A friend provided a metaphor: I was now a root, no longer a branch.
Today, I am days away from the next season. I am a grandmother times nine plus six steps. Sensing a call that our nest should not remain empty, Paul and I became part-time parents to our Chinese daughter. Her parents lend her to us for the school year. She is full of life dreams yet to unfold. Her expected launch is in May.
And the first grandson plans to stand at the altar to promise his life in June. I plan to bake cookies.
Each decade is a milestone, a season. The previous ones brought dreams, dashed and realized, hopes, deferred and fulfilled. There were misconceptions to discard and ideas to discover. Ever more lessons to live and learn.
And there has been love. With it comes conflict and pain, forgiveness and restoration, memory and aspiration, sorrow and joy.
We can see how much sand has fallen to the bottom of the hourglass, but we cannot know how much remains.
He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end. Ecclesiastes 3:11.
We can’t fully know what the next season holds. The famous Bible smuggler Brother Andrew writes: “None of us knows where the road will lead. We only know it is the most exciting journey of them all.”
And cookies always make it better.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the entities I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”