Turning

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Sometimes it feels like a deity grants me something to think about for the day, when a song or a story, or a few short words, or a picture come into my life and resonate deeply with me. It’s not always every day, but it often ends up being weekly. Here is what came to me this week, a blend of the religion of my birth and the religion that I’m slowly becoming a part of now.

While I was raised (to an extent, my music education also included liberal amounts of classical music and showtunes) on the folk music of the sixties and seventies (one of our regular lullabies was “Car Car” from Peter, Paul, and Mary), I either forgot about or somehow missed out on “Turn! Turn! Turn!” Someone gave us an illustrated children’s book version of it, and I still hadn’t gotten around to listening to the CD in the back when I listened to a children’s CD from the library (on my quest to introduce Eowyn to interesting music) that featured the song. That particular version has children’s lyrics, ones that aren’t based as much on the Ecclesiastes text, given that one of the lines is “a time for dirt, a time for soap.” After listening to it a few times, enchanted by the chorus, I pulled up The Byrds’ original version on YouTube and listened to that. You can find it here, if you care to hear it.

And now it’s not only stuck in my head, I’m musing on it (oh thinking…well, we all know where that leads). Ecclesiastes is one of those books in the Bible that I’ve always felt some connection to. I think it’s the fatalism. It appeals to my depressive side. Yet there’s a lot of substance in such a small, depressing book where the author continually bewails the lack of meaning in life. There’s wisdom there, and something about the “time for” section has always resonated with me. I was struck by it as a child when I first read the book, and I went back to it as a teenager, a young adult, and now I think about the words it offers yet again.

As I step into paganism, I’m struck by the importance of times for doing things: when is it best to do a ritual, what phase of the moon is best for what, and what season is it? In Wicca, is it the God or the Goddess dominating the current time, or is time for them to trade off again? There is a time for everything, and a season for all purposes under the heavens.

We’re not always so different. We humans like to draw lines between ourselves, to delineate our tribes so that we know who we are and who we are not. Yet we all face the same fact: our lives are short, and we will not always be here. No matter whether this is our only life, or whether we go on to a new adventure in an afterlife, or we are reborn anew, this is the time we have to be. The most important time is now, and that grants both a weighty burden, and a sense of freedom.

What time is it? It is time to turn. Turn and see that the lines that divide us are not worth fighting over. People of all faiths and no faith have been saying so for centuries. Maybe the time today is time to listen to the voices of those who came before us, and embrace our differences, for we are not so different from each other as we once thought.

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