Ecclesiastes 3:1 There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.
A few years ago I had the privilege of spending several days and nights with a woman who was in her late 90s. Mother to six children and grandmother to dozens, she was also an accomplished attorney and published author. Her husband preceded her in death by a decade and her children were spread all over the world, successful and happy and proud of her but none was able to come to her deathbed until just the day before she died.
What a strange privilege, really, to be with such an accomplished woman in her last days and nights. I have a huge respect for people who work in hospice and "end of life" care. I am sure their jobs are difficult, just as I am sure their rewards are immediate as well as eternal.
My late friend's name was Vivian, which of course means full of life. And she was! At the time I was intent on listening to every word she had for me, and it seemed she was intent on saying a lot. I didn't have to take notes even though it's my first nature to do so. All of her words were painfully and carefully chosen as she recounted what she considered her life's most important lessons. "There is time for everything," she told me, "just not all at once."
There is time for everything, just not all at once.
Okay, maybe it's profound only to me, because I was there, and it was the thesis of the last great speech of a great teacher and orator whom I respected deeply. But if I could impart the depth of feeling behind her words, I am convinced that mothers everywhere would breathe a sigh of relief. Just a little respite from the "hurry up" superwoman lives we live. Vivian didn't go to college until her last child was a senior in high school, she wanted me to know. She didn't write a word until she was 56 years old, and her oldest child was passing the bar at the same time she was.
By anyone's standards, Vivian's life as a mom, a lawyer, a writer and a teacher was extraordinary. And so is mine, and so is yours. The lesson I am trying desperately to internalize is that I can have it all, just not all at once.
For more encouraging words on this Wednesday, hop over to Amy Deanne's 160 Acre Woods.