“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:

“a time to be born, and a time to die;

“a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what 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 throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together;

“a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

“a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to throw away;

“a time to tear, 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 for war, and a time for peace.” – Ecclesiastes 3:1-15 (New Revised Standard Version)

While my husband and I and then infant son lived on the island of Kauai, Hawaii, serving churches there for almost four years, one of the many adjustments to island living was the fact that there was no typical autumn for this Midwestern-born girl. No changing leaves, or leaves falling off trees, no “sweater-weather,” no real drop in temperatures, and of course, no snow or mainland winter weather to prepare for.

I did not have any particular expectations for seasonal weather in Hawaii, except that I knew it would be warm year round, and rainy, and also the tradewinds from the Pacific Ocean would cool us down on hot days. We still had seasons in Hawaii, just not as pronounced as four season locales might be.

However, the greatest difference I noticed in the weather while in Hawaii was how much I missed the changing of the seasons. I missed the temperature changes, I really missed wearing a sweater (always too hot for me to wear one while in Hawaii), and really missed the leaves changing colors.

I didn’t miss the bitter cold and ice and slippery snow. Of course, in Hawaii, there are no “snow days” from school. These are moments that I would have never thought would affect me while living on this island.

I believe that I adjust to change well, changes in culture, changes in what might be the “norm” of what is comfortable for me. I have generally felt I could and can adapt to new experiences like this.

However, I did not expect to “miss” the seasons. I remember feeling sad initially about not experiencing seasons and for my son to not be able to experience snow while we lived there.

Yet, at the same time, we were now living in an environment that was always green and lush and teeming with life. The powerful smell of the salty Pacific, the sound of the waves, and the rain on our roof all reminded me of the humble privilege of serving God on this remote island. As I would sit on the sand, looking out over the ocean, I realized instantly that I was just a speck on this great planet we call home.

We are called to embrace change – whether it is as vast as the ocean or as small as a grain of sand. Let us embrace the many seasons of our lives, as daunting and overwhelming as they might seem in the moment, with courage, strength and God’s peace surrounding us.

The Rev. Rachel Schwab is the visitation pastor at First United Church of Christ in Carlisle.

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