What would it be like if our world was always day, with no night?
I asked myself this question while on a plane from San Francisco to Singapore – a 16-hour flight, with nearly all of it in daylight because of the time zone differences.
Because I love sunlight so much, I figured I wouldn’t mind having it 24/7. It would filter cheerfully into my office through the glass windows, even at 7pm; and if Singapore’s weather were cooler, after work I could lie on the grass, under a tree, and read a book in the sun.
Without darkness, I might just feel more alive, more cheerful, more hopeful.
But in such a world, I know I would miss having sunrises and sunsets – those precious hours where clouds turn impossibly pink and everything becomes gold. For such glory to exist, day needs to graciously make way to night, and night to day. If either “season” remained forever, we would be robbed of the beautiful transitions between them.
Transitions is a word which brings up mixed feelings. As a youth, each future transition always seemed exciting. In junior college, I looked forward to entering university to pursue a course I liked (where I finally did not have to study Math!). In university, I spent hours and hours dreaming of what I would do once I graduated. Too often, I simply could not wait for the next change to come.
What’s tough in transitions is that we bid farewell to a previous season which can never come back, while ushering in a new season of life.
Ironically, now that I’ve actually started working, I find myself yearning to be back in student life again.
This new season of work has, at times, felt like overwhelming darkness. There are days I wish the “sunlight” of studenthood didn’t have to end, so I wouldn’t need to move out of that carefree season into this period of heavier responsibility.
Then there’s the transition into married life, which I will be making in a year’s time. I’m looking forward to it, yet am sometimes gripped by bouts of anxiety that can completely overtake the anticipation. I know I will miss living with my siblings and parents – what if we drift apart? What if I’m too incapable or too emotional to support my husband well? Too irresponsible to manage my own home?
The looming transition brings spurts of excitement met by other moments of despair, where I’m sometimes tempted to maintain status quo and not get married!
What’s tough in transitions is that we bid farewell to a previous season which can never come back, while ushering in a new season of life. This quote from Elisabeth Elliot aptly captures the mixed feelings of letting go and moving on:
“The growth of all living green things wonderfully represents the process of receiving and relinquishing, gaining and losing, living and dying.
“The seed falls into the ground, dies as the new shoot springs up. There must be a splitting and a breaking in order for a bud to form. The bud ‘lets go’ when the flower forms. The calyx lets go of the flower. The petals must curl up and die in order for the fruit to form. The fruit falls, splits, relinquishes the seed. The seed falls into the ground …
“There is no ongoing spiritual life without this process of letting go. At the precise point where we refuse, growth stops.” (Passion and Purity: Learning to bring your love life under Christ’s control, 2002)
One heavenly day, we might experience a place where there is no more letting go and moving on; a period of unending daylight.
But on this side of eternity, we are blessed with more sunrises and sunsets – transitions big and small – to walk through. May our eyes be opened to the glory and beauty in each one.
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:
A time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot,
A time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build,
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 them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
A time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away,
A time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak,
A time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.
He has made everything beautiful in its time.
He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, 11)
This article was first published on the Church of our Saviour website and republished with permission.