"To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
"A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; . . ."A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; . . .
"I have seen the travail, which God hath given to the sons of men to be exercised in it.
"He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end." (Eccl. 3:1-2, 4, 9-11.)
With his mortal life nearly spent, a man soon to be 90 stood to bear his testimony. He has passed through many seasons, not just those indicated on the calendar, but also those that mark the stages of life. He experienced infancy, childhood, youth and young adulthood, sometimes struggling to learn and grow but often exulting in achievements great and small. He became a husband and father. To support his growing family, he worked for the telephone company, first as a lineman and, later, as a supervisor.
The seasons kept coming, it seemed, faster and faster. Babies blessed seemingly only a few years earlier grew up, went on missions and married.
Then the season of his work ended; he reached the age when it was time to retire. He used that time productively. Among his accomplishments were compiling family histories and doing temple work for his ancestors. He devoted much of this season - nearly 25 years - serving as a temple worker. That season ended last spring when advancing years brought increasing challenges to his aging body.
Through the seasons, he became a grandfather, great-grandfather and now is a great-great-grandfather.
Now he has begun another season. He goes to the temple at least once a week. Sometimes, he is there twice a week.
His footsteps are unsteady now, but with dignity and determination he attends Church meetings every week, looking forward to listening to and participating in lessons in his high priests group and Sunday School class. In sacrament meeting, he gives the speakers his full attention, listening carefully to compensate for his impaired hearing, anxious to hear a reaffirmation of gospel truths.
Some who are this elderly brother's age might think their years of usefulness and service are over. With sons and daughters reared, now having children and grandchildren of their own, they might feel they no longer are needed. And so might he, if he should dwell upon what he has done or is doing that is valued only by the standards of the world. But he has patterned his life by a higher standard. He knows he is making worthwhile contributions, that the work of a servant of the Lord and family patriarch is never completed.
Concluding his testimony, he looked over the congregation where sat several members who have been friends and neighbors for half a century. He told them he hoped he would be able to endure to the end, that he might remain faithful all the days of his life. And then, without preaching, he gave his fellow saints some gentle counsel: "Never give up."
Here is a man who seems comfortable, confident and even satisfied in the current season of his life. He exemplifies the words of Ecclesiastes, or "the Preacher," and seemingly has grasped the significance of the fact that ". . . God has made every thing beautiful in his time."
There is much we can learn from that scripture.
There is beauty in each season of life, and we should learn to appreciate those moments, not longing for something in the future or looking at the past. Sometimes we dwell on past years, either regretting how we spent them or wishing we could prolong them. Some, particularly those who are young, often yearn so much for the future and what it promises that they fail to enjoy the present.
There are "sunrises to enjoy" in each season of our life. Sometimes we miss the beautiful things of the various seasons.
We cannot return to the past. None of us knows what the future holds, for "no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end." We sometimes find fault with those who live for the moment, but there are some positive aspects about not letting the present slip through our lives unnoticed and unappreciated. Let us savor each season.