×

To everything there is a season

Back in 1965, I was a high school freshman. A song entitled “Turn, Turn, Turn” hit number one on the pop charts. Written by Pete Seeger and sung by a British group called The Byrds, it eventually ran its course, like all songs do. It was not until I was older that I realized the lyrics were actually a collection of verses from the Bible — Ecclesiastes, Chapter 3. And it was not until I had lived a few more years that this particular writing came to be so meaningful and helpful to me. When I found it printed on a greeting card, I bought it and put it in a frame. That scripture took up residence on my desk at work and now sits on a bookcase in our home office. It still continues to speak to me after all these years.

I am sure you are familiar with it. In case your memory needs a bit of a jog, and to save you the time of looking it up, here it is in the New King James style.

“To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under Heaven:

“A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant and a time to pluck 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 cast away stones, and a time to gather stones; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to gain, 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 of war, and a time of peace.”

This chapter strikes me as pertinent on a few levels. First, each situation touched upon is a polar opposite and serves as a reminder that our lives will be full of opposing forces with which we must contend. No part of our lives will remain constant; there will always be change to which we must adapt. Second, lest we lose heart, in the majority of situations the challenge comes first and is followed by a resolution to the problem or a happier time. No matter how difficult life becomes, there is a time that is better or easier. Third, there are almost as many situations in which the good comes before the bad. So, do not get too complacent or take your good life for granted. Always appreciate your life in the moment because there will come a time when you will be tested and will need to find the strength to pull through a difficult patch. And, finally, I am always struck by the randomness of these words. When it comes right down to it, we are not in control. Life happens and we have to deal with it to the best of our ability.

And therein lies the rub. Despite all of our preparations and planning and our attempts to get it right, in the end, it is not up to us. How difficult that is to accept! In this country, we live according to that American work ethic that tells us if we plan, play by the rules and keep our nose to the grindstone, we can build a good life; things will work out. After we have lived a few years as adults, we come to realize that hard work doesn’t always guarantee success and that despite our “best-laid plans,” sometimes life throws us a curve ball. My grandmother was so right when she said, “Whatever shall be, will be.”

I worked at a local construction company for several years when I first moved up here; it was my first real job. One of the most influential people I met there was Mac, the plant manager. He had a sixth sense in that he always knew when I needed a boost. He would walk into my office and tell me a joke or offer a piece of wisdom just right for the situation. One such tidbit was, “Hard work does not guarantee success, but you can’t get anywhere without it.” So, at least I could do my part and hope for the best — something I needed to hear at the time.

My husband and I talk often about the historic time in which we are now living. It so reminds us of the 1960s, and we are saddened that in so many respects, it seems as though we have not made any progress at all. The names in the headlines may be different, but the arguments seem to be the same. Racial tensions, political divisions, economic stressors, social injustices and power plays have all reared their ugly heads once again because they have never really been effectively resolved. Leaders have come and gone with different names but the same strengths and weaknesses. As the old saying goes, “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” It’s all quite predictable and more than a little discouraging.

After 50-plus years, we are still struggling with the same issues. On the surface we can say that the “enemy” this time around is not a foreign power but an invisible virus. But truly, in this great American experiment called democracy that promises freedom and certain “inalienable rights” to us all, we remain our own worst enemy.

We may look different — our skin may be a different color, our hair may be wiry, we may be covered with tattoos and riddled with piercings, and we may dress in baggy pants or colorful turbans — but we basically want the same things out of life. We want the freedom to live according to our beliefs, the opportunity to grow to our fullest potential, and a chance at a job, a home and a family. And we should all have the right to determine our future — even if the kind of life we build is different than the life someone else has chosen to build. My choice of a mosque or a synagogue is not wrong because it is not a church or cathedral. My choice to have six children or no children is just that — my choice. We need to remember that our choices will not be the same choices made by our neighbor, our friend, or even a family member … and that is okay!

But we also need to remember that our right to these personal freedoms cannot infringe upon our neighbor’s rights. My desire to express my freedom to socialize cannot place anyone else at risk of catching a virus. The Constitution applies to all of us, so my rights granted by that document are also granted to my neighbor. My quest for “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” cannot prevent or endanger my neighbor’s right to do the same.

I find myself reading Ecclesiastes more often these days. And I need to remind myself just as often that I am not in control. Things tend to get too depressing when I think I am. Nor am I the judge and jury of the actions of others. I strive to be non-judgmental, to live and let live. All I can do is control my actions and my thoughts and then hope for the best … hope for the seasons to change. As promised in both the Bible and in Pete Seeger’s lyrics, “To everything — turn, turn, turn — there is a season — turn, turn, turn — and a time to every purpose under heaven.”

And, for good measure, do as The Mamas & the Papas remind us in 1967, “Whisper a little prayer for me, my baby, because it’s hard for me, my baby, and the darkest hour is just before dawn.” Let’s pray for the sun to rise … soon.

___________________

NURSING HOMES

The usual senior living activity calendars and senior center menus are not being published to avoid confusion. Due to the coronavirus and the vulnerability of the elderly population, daily life in the senior living facilities and senior centers has changed dramatically.

All living facilities have closed their doors to public visitation, and the activity calendars have been modified to allow for one-to-one room visits only and individualized activities to keep residents engaged and active as much as possible while remaining within the health and safety guidelines provided by state health experts. Group games are being substituted with individualized activities residents can do in their respective rooms. Staff are providing supplies as well as “overhead announcement bingo and trivia” games and “hallway games” that can be played in individual rooms or by sitting within individual room doorways. YouTube and DVDs are being utilized to provide religious services. A big dose of gratitude and appreciation goes out to all senior care staff for their creativity, caring and perseverance through a difficult situation.

All senior centers have also been closed to any center-based activity. Until they re-open, no information is being published that talks about activities typically available at these centers. Meals continue to be delivered. Some centers also are preparing meals to be picked up. Menus are printed below for those centers who are either preparing take-out or providing home delivered meals. Questions can be directed to the individual centers at the numbers all listed below.

SENIOR CENTERS

Alpha-Mastodon Center

906-875-3315

Amasa Center

906-822-7284

The Amasa Center is a curbside pick-up-only kitchen for now. Call ahead for Tuesdays through Thursdays.

Breen Center

906-774-5110

Now open with limited seating from noon to 1 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Menu for the week —

Monday: Spaghetti, meat sauce, green beans, garlic bread

Tuesday: Chicken Alfredo, California blend vegetables

Wednesday: Hot pork sandwich, mashed potatoes, gravy, broccoli

Thursday: Chili dogs, macaroni and cheese, baked beans

Crystal Falls Center

Head cook: Lucy Korhonen

906-875-6709

Crystal Lake Center – Iron Mountain

906-239-0278

Home-delivered meals only. Menu for the week —

Monday: Spaghetti and Italian sausage, corn, breadstick

Tuesday: Chef salad, pudding

Wednesday: Cheeseburger, tater tots, peas and carrots

Thursday: Cabbage rolls, stewed tomatoes, biscuit

Friday: Barbecue pork sandwich, potato wedges, broccoli

For more information, call Christine McMahon at 906-774-2256.

Felch Center

906-246-3559

Now open with limited seating from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Monday through Wednesday. The menu for the week —

Monday: Chicken and rice casserole, carrots, dinner roll

Tuesday: Sloppy Joe, green beans, chips

Wednesday: Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, gravy, California blend vegetables

Aging and Disability Resource Center of Florence County, Wis.

715-528-4890

Director: Tiffany White

Home-delivered meals only. Menu for the week —

Monday: Sub sandwiches with lettuce, tomato and onion, pasta salad, fruit

Tuesday: Ribs and sauerkraut, sweet potatoes, fruit

Wednesday: Swedish meatballs over buttered noodles, carrots, apple spinach salad, fruit

Thursday: Picnic Day – Chili cheese hot dog, potato salad, baked beans, watermelon and lemonade

Friday: Baked salsa chicken, black beans and rice, side salad, fresh fruit

Fence Center/Town Hall

715-336-2980 — RSVP for meal at 855-528-2372

Same as ADRC menu, home-delivered only.

Florence Community Center/Town Hall

RSVP for meal at 715-528-4261

Same as ADRC menu, home-delivered only.

Tipler Town Hall

715-674-2320 – RSVP for meals.

Same as ADRC menu, home-delivered only.

Hillcrest Senior Dining Center, Aurora

715-589-4491 – RSVP for meals

Same as ADRC menu, home-delivered only.

Hermansville Center

Coordinator: Pam Haluska

906-498-7735

Iron River Center

906-265-6134

Now open with limited seating 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Monday through Wednesday. Home-delivered and/or takeout only on Thursdays. Menu for week —

Monday: Biscuits and gravy, peas

Tuesday: Spaghetti and meatballs, cauliflower, rolls

Wednesday: Smoked sausage, sauerkraut, mashed potatoes, gravy

Thursday: Lasagna, cauliflower, garlic bread

Niagara Northwoods Senior Cafe and Center

Meal site manager: Corrie Maule, 715-251-1603

Senior center director: Jill Anderson, 715-251-4154

Norway Center

Director: Susie Slining

906-563-8716

The center will remain closed; however, takeout meals will be prepared for pick up — must call ahead and wear a mask when picking up. Menu for the week —

Monday: Ham and cheese sliders, stewed tomatoes, fruit, juice, milk, bread, dessert

Tuesday: Fourth of July dinner – Barbecue chicken, potato salad, coleslaw, fresh fruit, juice, milk, bread, dessert

Wednesday: Bourbon steak, mashed potatoes and gravy, corn, fruit, juice, milk, bread, dessert

Thursday: Salmon, scalloped potatoes, creamy spinach, fruit, juice, milk, bread, dessert

Sagola Center

906-542-3273

Now open with limited seating from noon to 1 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday. Menu for the week —

Tuesday: Chicken-fried steak, gravy, noodles, peas, pears

Wednesday: Baked fish, Brussel sprouts, rice pilaf, pineapple

Thursday: Baked chicken, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, mixed vegetables, apple

FARM TO FAMILY PROGRAM

The food box pick-up schedule —

— Kingsford: 2 to 3 p.m. Wednesday at 621 N. Hooper St. (across from Trico);

— Sagola: noon to 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, senior center parking lot;

— Felch: 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, Felch Community Center on M-69;

— Iron River: noon to 1 p.m. Wednesday, July 22, Iron River Senior Center parking lot.

— Crystal Falls: 11 to 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, July 22, Crystal Falls Senior Center.

Newsletter

Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)