“He has made everything beautiful in its time.” – Ecclesiastes 3:11
My grandparents’ homestead was a grand estate. That’s not an exaggerated childhood memory, it truly was. While it might not quite attain mansion status by today’s standards, it would certainly come close. It was a massive six-bedroom two-story house above a huge two-room basement, with grounds that included an English rose garden, my grandmother’s prolific vegetable garden, a large backyard that included a fountain and fishpond at one end and an outdoor fireplace at the other. But most memorable to me as a child was the tile swimming pool, a rarity in those days, where I learned to swim. The pool area included a cabana complete with his-and-her full dressing rooms with showers, a laundry facility and servants’ quarters. Adjacent to the pool was a lighted tennis court. What a showplace it was, not to mention the memories of my grandparents’ warm hospitality, especially the huge platters of fried chicken my grandmother would prepare in the summertime while the rest of us were swimming.
Several weeks ago, while passing through the small town where my grandparents had lived, we made a detour by the old homeplace. Sadly, it was barely visible for all the unkempt trees, shrubs and weeds that grown up around it. Peeking through the overgrowth as best we could, we could see the whole place had deteriorated badly, as had the once prosperous neighborhood surrounding it.
I’m a little like that myself these days I suppose, deteriorating that is. An old acquaintance reminded me of that the other day, amused by a picture he had seen of me at a much younger age, referring to a wedding photo I had posted on Facebook recently on the day of our forty-seventh wedding anniversary. “Wow!” he remarked, “you looked so young, I almost didn’t recognize you.” Admittedly, I did have more hair back then – among several other features – which he also observed was a different color.
“He has made everything beautiful in its time,” like my grandparents’ home back in its glory days, or my looks at a younger age, though not exactly beautiful. There is a season and a purpose for everything, the writer of Ecclesiastes points out, and through it God gives us a glimpse of the perfection of His creation – but only a glimpse – so that through our own lives and those we touch that beauty is re-created for another season and time.