From Our District Chaplain
Change, Seasons, and The Circle of Life

Speaking of the Circle of Life, Marietta President Chris Bethel reported they "got Mark good" for his birthday, just ahead of the coronavirus shutdown

There is a somewhat familiar phrase in a philosophical collection of sayings called “Ecclesiastes” that tells us: “For everything there is a season and a time for every activity under heaven…”. People in all generations have certainly pondered the ‘seasons and times’ of living life. The writer of Ecclesiastes elaborates further that there is…”a time to give birth and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted; a time to hurt and a time to heal, a time to tear 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 scatter stones and a time to gather stones, 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 discard; a time to tear apart and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak; a time to love and a time to loathe, a time for war and a time for peace.”

I once owned a beautiful, white 1965 Rambler Ambassador 990 Convertible. It was a jewel. It was a power-glide-transmissioning, American Motors ‘whisper’ steering, dark blue interior, power-poly-dura-canvas topped, gas-guzzling land yacht. During this season of my life, the circle of life allowed me to drive my lovely, cute wife around in “Edith” usually once a week out-and-about in Wake Forrest, North Carolina only, of course, on beautiful days. All my fellow grad students were pea-green with envy (Dena Lynne and Edith were a knock-out combo!). However, eventually, the season and circle of enviable, happy convertible ownership life would come to an end. Yes, the season and circle of life would hit the glorious ‘speed bump’ of parenting. With our first-born birthing eminent. Bad grad school insurance. Baby necessities required. Edith had to go. My 1965 Ambassador Rambler 990 love had to be uprooted, auto-tradered, and discarded! I was at war with growing up, of being ‘responsible’; of tearing apart my suave (HA!), sophisticated, ‘dance’ with Edith. But ‘peace’ (wife) insisted it was best. Yes. Life was altered. Change was imposed. I hurt. I had to keep silent. I had to mend. I had to accept a new reality.

Such is life. Seasons, circles, cycles, are inherent in our lives and inevitably change comes along. Currently, a season and circle of sickness has imposed itself on our way of Rotary Life. I know don’t know about you, but I truly, sincerely, and wholeheartedly miss my weekly ‘rides’ with my Rotary Family and our commendable ‘cycle’ of our “Rotary Club Circle” of friends. Our customary, regular, reliable weekly Rotary Club camaraderie, predictability, and uniformity in my life is absent. Yes. Life is altered. Change is imposed. There is silence. I hurt and long for Rotary Family Fellowship. I have to mend. I have to accept a new reality. No Rotary Club Bells gaveled. No ‘Call to Order’; no Invocations; no Sunshine; no recitation of the “Four Way Test of the Things We Think, Say, and Do”; no Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag; no Guest Speakers; no Hilton noonday meal; no heckling President Chris Bethel; no handshakes or hugs, no ‘jack-pot-opportunity’ red marble drawings, no visits to my assigned District 6900 Clubs.

Yes. There are Rotary e-Club Meetings and e-Opportunities out there. But e-moments are just not the same for me. I am accustomed to cruising and gliding along life’s road with the vibrant Rotary Club breeze of connection and “Service Above Self” flowing vigorously around me as we care for our each other, our Communities, Districts, Zones, and World. Yes. I know Rotarians are at work in numerous and various ways around our Globe during this challenging, critical season of social distancing, disease, contagious vulnerability, and, regrettably, untimely deaths, doing what we Rotarians always do best. We step-in, step-up, and step-out to alleviate suffering. I am simply accustomed to the “jewel” of energy and power received from riding along enjoying our Rotary Circle of Life. Yes. We all will “plant, heal, build-up, laugh, gather, dance, and mend…” once again. Prayerfully, hopefully, optimistically sooner than not.

The Ecclesiastical Philosopher also says, “You will see, you will rejoice once again! And you will flourish like grass… and you will be comforted, you will rise up and thrive!” I agree with the writer of Ecclesiastes, don’t you?

For everything there is a season and a time for every activity under heaven…”.

Obviously, whoever penned Ecclesiastes was a Rotarian ahead of their time! Methinks they must be a distant Scottish cousin of our District Governor Jim, may be?

Brother and Sister Rotarians, Press-on! Keep the Faith until we all meet again and resume our Rotary journeys together!

AG/Chaplain Mark

Posted by Mark Barbour
April 6, 2020


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