“A time to be born, and a time to die. A time to plant, and a time to pluck what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up.” Ecclesiastes 3:2-3
Birth-death, planting-plucking, kill-heal, break down-build up. I notice a theme. Beginning and ending, making and destroying.
I’m not going to use this terminology too literally for my points, that might get weird, but I’ll try and be more analogical.
You had a time to be born, and you have a time to die (probably). You couldn’t choose to be born, and you should not choose to die either. Until we can make our own bodies work we can’t say we have full power over them. So the attitude people view living with nowadays bugs me a lot. This life is not a long one to begin with. Why throw it away? According to the Bible, God Himself is the source of life, and sin is the source of death. All throughout history wicked men have this in common: not a single one of them valued human life, or any life really. In this age, death is everywhere you look, and movies treat it like it’s a thing to be toyed with and life a thing to be experimented on. What?!!! There is a time to die, but the danger of focusing on it so much is that, quite soon, it ceases to be real to you. I know people who will tell you that the plots of horrid movies are not real to them, so they have no affect on their minds. Never mind the psychos who’ve used such movies as inspiration and the actors who’ve committed suicide over them. Losing value for your life is far worse than losing value for your death. Most people think their death might matter to a couple people, but their life seems to matter to no one. This is wrong because whether you know it or not, every life touches so many others. The movie It’s a Wonderful Life gets it about right. My conclusion is that birth and death are out of our hands and YOLO and YODO aside, it’s best not to focus on them.
We do have control over what we plant and what we reap. We can literally plant food, or we can plant ideas, words, money, gifts, talents, and so on. But we’re human; it would be silly to suppose everything we plant is good. We’ve all said dumb things and acted badly. We’ve given people false information, and we make mistakes with our money. Sometimes you have to try to undo what you did.
But the idea of reaping really deals with good crops. You can take the wheat and sort out the weeds, but if you plant well there will always be more wheat. It is okay to profit in some way by the work you do. There is a time to give and give (sowing), and there is a time to receive it back. But be sure to share your wealth because the more you sow the more you reap. In one way or another.
But a seed is quite different from the fruit. You could sow money into a charity; you won’t get money back, but the reward of having helped another person. You could sow effort into a project and you will get a finished project, not more effort. This does seem to be a statement of the obvious, but it’s surprising how often we expect to get the same thing back as we gave. (Like in relationships. “I did __ for you so you should do it for me.”) In all honesty, sometimes you sow more seed than you get back. No one says it’s fair or that it isn’t often exhausting. The only thing to do then is conclude the crop was more valuable than the seed anyway. This especially applies to relationships; as well as education and charity work.
[Never be afraid to examine your work for “weeds”; it’ll improve your field in the long run.]
This is trickiest of all because killing anything, even an inanimate object or feeling, is a serious thing. I will not suggest ever killing innocent things, (like the daydreams of a child.) Nor do I suggest killing deep things (like love and a sense of justice.) Those are better redirected. But there is a time to kill. For example, there are dreams that never will come true, and if they are not really important to our psyche, it’s better to let them go. There are ideas that are not good for us and should be killed as soon as possible. (Lies about ourselves and about other people, envy, greed, pettiness, are all such ideas.) You can kill a thought by immediately calling it what it is (bad, wrong, a lie) and rejecting it. Imagine you’ve shut your mind to it. Or, even more ceremoniously, writing out your goodbye to a dream that isn’t good for you or a memory that haunts you. (Something I wish soap opera screen writers would do.) Then heal. It’s okay to cry, but healing truly comes by replacing the old things with new. Replanting so to speak. It’s great when one can heal other people, but seeking healing for yourself comes first. And you have to believe it’s possible. Kill the lie that you are stuck with your hang-ups and faults; there really is a cure for all of them. Though it probably won’t be the same for each. (Not that I really have to state that, but there’s always one who’ll try the one-size-fits-all method.)
Break Down-Build Up
We cant pluck away some of the parasites in our lives, but a lot of problems have to be broken down bit by bit. My dad works with bricks quite a lot. In masonry, it’s one brick at a time, each cemented to the next; until, hopefully, you’ve built a sturdy wall. (If you know what you’re doing.) Tearing down a brick wall isn’t a matter of wrecking balls or other such tools. Bricks are valuable because they’re re-usable, and you don’t want to damage them if they’re still any good. So again, step by step. It’s hard work.
Some things we build in our lives are too crumbly to be useful and tearing them down is all we can do. But most ideas, activities, and relationships have good stuff in them somewhere. Then is the time to be careful about tearing down. It’s okay to have a break down (emotional ones included) if you can pick up the pieces and rebuild something stronger. Sometimes the brick wall can become a brick road if you go about it the right way. But know the people you’re with, know how to perform your activities, and know the truth of your ideas, or I guarantee it’ll be built all wrong crooked and unstable.
Take, for instance, the play “Much Ado About Nothing.” Claudio and Don Pedro do not really know Don Jon’s character nor Hero’s, and trust Don Jon’s word over hers, causing much trouble over something that never happened. It takes very extreme methods to rebuild after that. Of course their trust wasn’t built on the right thing in the first place.
This is already so long it seems unfair to keep going. I hope my examples made sense. I’m looking forward to writing part three. Until then–Natasha