To everything there is a season ...


CarolinaFireJournal - By Ken Farmer
By Ken Farmer
01/23/2014 -

If you were a student of the 60s you may already know where this column is going. If not, read on!

Life is full of seasons. We all constantly go through varying changes in our lives. I live in a world of change. I have always tried to be a planner and a person who anticipates what is next on the horizon. Of course, like most people, I am not always a big fan of change. Yet change comes at us at about 200 miles per hour, and most often it hurts.

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In the last two months I have had two events to impact me. The first was the somewhat sudden loss of a mentor and friend. Robbie Robertson was a close friend for many years. He was 86 and died after several months of health issues from a knee surgery that went south. He was one of my personal heroes and was a legend in the fire service. As he was born and raised in North Carolina and we had an extra special bond. Many will miss him. The second event was the loss of one of my closest friend’s mother. She had Alzheimer’s for the last six years. It was a blessing in many ways as she had it in advanced stages and each day was a struggle for her. As my friend said, “I had said goodbye to her three years ago.” I had spent many days at their house growing up and she was always a sweet and kind lady and will be missed by everyone and her family.

Life comes at you fast when you sometimes least expect it. In these cases, I knew their deaths were imminent. Still when it came, it was a shock and a sad event. Knowing they both left behind friends and family made it a little easier.

So what’s to learn from such lessons of life? Well, the main thing is that life changes no matter what you would hope to happen. You must eventually accept the change. Studies show that say there are three stages of grief. These stages are Disbelief, Anger and Acceptance. So what can we learn from these events of life?

The rock band The Byrds had their second number one hit with the song “Turn, Turn, Turn (to everything there is a season)” in 1965. The song was written by the popular folksinger Pete Seeger in the late 1950s. (songfacts.com)

Most people know the story behind the lyrics. Seeger took them almost word for word from the Book of Ecclesiastes, as found in the King James Version of the Bible (Ecclesiastes 3:1). Ecclesiastes is traditionally ascribed to King Solomon. The words to the song are:

To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, a time to reap that which 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 get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

A time to rend, 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 of war, and a time of peace.

These words are worth reading again. I think it’s a good way to describe the seasons of life and the way things change. Like most people, I am not always a big fan of change. It’s is part of life. Please don’t take this article as a sign of depression or a sad view of life. You are put through such events in life to make you stronger and learn. More often than not, if you keep your faith strong and believe in your own personal strong points, you can survive and succeed.

These words can give you a special peace and understanding in your time of change. If not, look up the song and take a nostalgic trip back to 1965!

Be Safe.

Ken Farmer is Section Chief, Leadership and Fire Risk Reduction at the National Fire Academy, United States Fire Administration in Maryland. Email him at [email protected]
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