A Time to Be Born, A Time to Die: Saying Goodbye To Lola

This blog was archived from November 13, 2015.

This past Sunday I was awoken to a call from Manila. My uncle let me know that my grandmother had passed away at 84. My heart sank and then immediately jumped to my throat. Instead of tears and angst I had to compose myself since my kids were already in my room as soon as I hung up the phone, and laughing and jumping on my bed. I have to get their breakfast started...I have to call my mom. I was much more concerned with my father and how he was doing. My mom told me that he had just found out the news and that within a couple of hours he had to preach at church. "Can't they find anyone else?" I asked him. "No, no he won't be able to find a replacement pastor at such short notice."

If my Dad could hold himself together to speak for 45 minutes to his church, the morning of his mother's death, I surely have it in me to go about my day and eventually grieve. It's Friday, I have yet to properly grieve and I'm keeping myself as busy as possible. I do plan on taking some time to myself, and soon. My folks just landed in Manila after a long 16 hour flight. This time last week they didn't know that within a week they would be on the other side of the ocean, ready for a funeral. Before they left, my dad emailed me his message on Sunday. I cried, finally. And I want to share this sermon with you, before the weekend rolls around. So much can change in a day, much can change in a season. We are so limited on time here on earth. Let's be kind, let's tell our loved ones we care. I wish I still had my grandmother around because there is just so much I want to say to her, I still have to hear the story of the war one more time to be able to recite it properly to my children. Missing you, enjoy dancing in Heaven with Lolo.

Written by Dad

Amelia, my five-year old granddaughter, had just enrolled in elementary school. Her teacher, who is in her sixties, shared a moment she had in class with Amelia’s mother. She reported that the little girl is excelling in school and is constantly making her laugh. In the month of October, the class was learning about the four seasons. As part of their assignment, her students had to write down the four seasons on a piece of paper. According to Amelia’s teacher, the story went something like this:

“Children,” says the teacher, “it is time to spell out the four seasons!” “Mrs. T,” Amelia asks, “how do you spell Bob?”

“B-O-B,” says the teacher.

After awhile Amelia asks, “Mrs. T, how do you spell Frankie?” “F-R-A-N-K-I-E,” says the teacher.

And not a moment too soon Amelia asks, “How do you spell Tommy?”

The teacher pauses and asks Amelia, “Why am I spelling out the names of all these guys for you?”

“You wanted me to name The Four Seasons,” says Amelia. “And I forgot the name of the last one. But I know there is a Frankie, Bob, and Tommy ...”

Her teacher immediately broke out into laughter. She asked Amelia’s mother, “How does a five-year old know about Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons?”

In case you wondering, this iconic rock group—that came straight out of the sixties—had been reintroduced to this present generation through the Broadway play and 2014 musical film drama Jersey Boys.

When it comes to the subject of the seasons, a wise king named Solomon spelled it out long ago. He logged his thoughts in a journal that is now available for all to read. The Bible calls it the book Ecclesiastes. What on earth does Ecclesiastes mean? It means, “preacher,” or “one who address an assembly.” Solomon speaks about the seasons of life in Ecclesiastes 3:1-11:

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.

What gain have the workers from their toil? I have seen the business that God has given to everyone to be busy with. He has made everything suitable for its time; moreover he has put a sense of past and future into their minds, yet they cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.

Let’s use our imagination for a moment. Let’s imagine that you had a wealthy uncle who pays you a surprise visit and gives you some good news. Being his favorite nephew or niece, he told you that he decided to deposit 86,400 pennies into your bank account each day starting next Monday morning. That’s $864 a day, seven days a week, fifty-two weeks per year.

Then your generous uncle says that there’s only one condition. You must spend all the money that same day. No balance will be carried over to the next day. By the end of the day, the bank must cancel whatever sum you failed to use.

You’re all smiles. You can’t thank your wealthy uncle enough. Over the weekend you take the time to plan your daily spending strategy. You open your computer and start calculating: $864 times seven equals over $6,000 a week ... times fifty-two weeks. That’s almost $315,000 a year that is at your disposal to spend each day as you see fit. And you’re mindful that whatever money you don’t spend is lost at the end of the day.

Now let’s get real. Every morning, a certain Someone who loves you very much deposits 86,000 seconds into your bank of time. This converts to 1,440 minutes equaling twenty-four hours each day.

Now you need to remember that the same condition applies, because our Almighty God gives you this specific amount of time to spend each day. Not a single second is saved up for the next day. There aren’t any extra hours in a twenty-four hour day. From sunrise to sunset, you have been given an exact amount of time. Every second is accounted for. Lillian Dickson said, “Life is like a coin. You can spend it any way you wish, but you only spend it once.”

In September 1964, the Rolling Stones released their version of the song, Time Is On My Side, in the United States. It became their first Top 10 hit in America. They sang this song in the time of their youth. Truly, at that time, time was on their side. But it was only a matter of time before time mattered to them.

Today, the Rolling Stones aren’t as young as they used to be. Time has caught up to them. Way back in 1989 the band came out with a major comeback album entitled Steel Wheels. Rumor has it that they’re working on another comeback album called Steel