The Book of Ecclesiastes in the Holy Bible was written more than two thousand years ago, just before I was born. Chapter III contains the famous verses about there being a time, a season, and a purpose for everything. Who needs modern self-help books and expensive therapy when this astute advice explains it all?
Over the years, I’ve read various books and watched videos that promise to provide all the answers. Just put it out there! Expect and visualize greatness! Here is the secret! All this advice is encouraging and motivational until a child gets a terminal illness or a loved one dies too soon or you lose your job to the company trollop. Then all the good vibrations, humming, and drumming won’t stop your sorrow. That’s when there’s a time to weep.
A few times, I’ve gone beyond the weeping stage and visualized smashing something and/or someone with a hammer. The most recent example of imaginary vindication relates to the embarrassing fact that I was swindled by a local businessman I thought was a friend. I resent the loss of tens of thousands of dollars, but mostly I’m chagrined at the reality that I’m not as smart as I thought. The retaliatory hammer swings both ways.
To compound the humiliation, this isn’t the first time this year I’ve lost money to unethical con artists. Maybe it will get easier after the funds are all gone. I’ll write the last check to that nice man from Nigeria because he promised a 200% return on investment.
After being swindled, it was easy to get bitter and distrustful. But, that’s no fun. As many advice gurus accurately note, being angry at someone only allows the jerk to live rent-free in my head. There are abundant memories and triumphant visions that fit much better into my mind, and they don’t leave a scowl on my face or lead to prison.
In the late 1950s, Pete Seeger adapted the words from Ecclesiastes to write the song “Turn Turn Turn.” The most popular rendition was performed by The Byrds in 1965, and I fondly remember singing the tune as I rode my horse in the country. The song included the words from the Bible verses, ending with “A time for peace.” Seeger added six words: “I swear it’s not too late.” After the worldwide popularity of the song, he later remarked that he received too much credit for only writing six words.
If I can forgive and forget the scoundrels who cheated me, that makes one small step toward world harmony. On a broader scale, if the volatile tribes in the Middle East just could forgive their neighbors because some ancestor stole a goat 500 years ago, maybe we all could work together to save the angry planet from imminent destruction. Maybe there is a season for that. I swear it’s not too late.
Lyrics to “Turn Turn Turn”
Original Text from the Book of Ecclesiastes, Chapter III, verses 1-8, Chapter I, verse 4.
Adapted by Pete Seeger
(Chorus) To Everything (Turn, Turn, Turn)
There is a season (Turn, Turn, Turn)
And a time for every purpose, under Heaven
A time to be born, a time to die
A time to plant, a time to reap
A time to kill, a time to heal
A time to laugh, a time to weep
A time to build up, a time to break down
A time to dance, a time to mourn
A time to cast away stones, a time to gather stones together
A time of love, a time of hate
A time of war, a time of peace
A time you may embrace, a time to refrain from embracing
A time to gain, a time to lose
A time to rend, a time to sew
A time to love, a time to hate
A time for peace, I swear it’s not too late
(Free punctuation tidbit for writers: The titles of books are italicized except for the title of the Bible.)
Today’s blog was fueled by a Raymond Cabernet, a robust wine for $10 a glass at Bella Aquila in Eagle. Tell Niki that Elaine sent you.