“To everything (turn, turn, turn)
There is a season (turn, turn, turn)
And a time to every purpose, under heaven”
~ The Byrds by way of Pete Seeger by way of Ecclesiastes
During this time of the year, I often hear the words of “Turn! Turn! Turn!” in my head. It is a season full of furtive, silent possibility. A perfect time to become aware of every purpose under heaven. Although January welcomes more sunlight and lengthening days (we will have an hour more daylight by the middle of the month), winter maintains its cold grip with the coldest temperatures coming in January and February.
Becoming a mother has acutely taught me the lessons of January. Literally minutes before I went on parental leave for Benny, a cherished mother at the church told me, “Get ready! I absolutely love being a mother, but motherhood is a series of tiny losses.” It was a stunning statement, but the more Benny grows the more I appreciate her wisdom. Every gain is a kind of loss. As Benny learns new things or starts doing new things, the less he is just ours and the more he comes into his own. My tiny dependent newborn that squinted one eye when he needed to fart and that moved its hands like an orchestra conductor when he woke from naps has been replaced with a full-on, never-stops-moving, sensitive, big feeling toddler.
If every gain is a kind of loss, so too we might reason each loss has a kind of gain in it. Certainly, I see that every day when Ben learns new words or says three-word sentences or tells me that home makes him happy. This I think is the lesson of January. In the cold are the building blocks for Spring. In the still is a world of possibility. As we leave behind the last year, a new year opens in front of us. The power of the season is our ability to Turn! Turn! Turn!