In 1965 and 1966, The Byrds hit the charts in the U.S. and the U.K. with a Pete Seeger song, “Turn, Turn, Turn”, which was pulled almost word-for-word from the Book of Ecclesiates (or, in Hebrew, Koheleth), chapter 3. You probably know it – “To everything, turn, turn, turn, there is a season, turn, turn, turn…” As a result, this is probably the best-known chapter of Ecclesiates. That’s fine. I’m staying there today.
Ecclesiastes is part of the Wisdom literature in Hebrew Bible. Wisdom literature is concerned with order – the righteous will be rewarded, the wicked will be punished, this is the way of the world, and everything is good. Which is great, if your world hasn’t been turned completely upside-down. I could go on, but I will restrain myself, because Bible study wasn’t really where I wanted to go right now. (Oh, so tempting, though). So, where was I? Oh yes, Wisdom literature, and order, and being turned upside-down.
The funny thing about being turned upside-down is, even though Wisdom literature isn’t full of understanding comfort for the afflicted, after a time in disorientation (and there’s plenty of biblical literature to deal with the disorientation), a dose of the old orientation can be helpful. It can be good to know that even while my own life feels completely inside-out, that there is still order.
Back to Ecclesiates Chapter 3, then. Specifically, 3:6b-7a – A time for keeping and a time for discarding; A time for ripping and a time for sewing (Jewish Publication Society translation). It’s that time.
It’s been that time, and it will continue to be that time. It’s a process (good thing I’m a process theologian, then, but that’s an entirely different blog). I know I’ve talked about this a little before. Things. I can’t keep all of Don’s things. I mean, I could, I suppose. I could just become stagnant, and keep everything as it is, but I don’t think that would be healthy. So there are things I need to get rid of. There are things I don’t particularly care about. Then there are those things that remind me very much of Don, that I’d like to keep, but that I can’t use in their current form. This brings me to the ties.
Don had a lot of ties. Once upon a time, businesses weren’t business casual. Don had to wear suits or jackets and ties to work. He had a lot of ties. Even after people started going business casual, he kept up his tie collection. Some are very nice ties. A few are, well, there are definitely one or two hideous ties. Some have special associations. there’s the tie with Mickey Mouse in the airplanes, but you have to look closely to figure it out. There are the World Wildlife Federation ties. And there’s the skinny Donald Duck tie.
This morning I took all of the ties over to my neighbor’s house. She’s a seamstress. Mostly she makes wedding dresses, but she can make anything. She took a few measurements, and then we went through the ties, and we picked out a bunch. When she’s done, I’ll have a skirt made out of Don’s ties. A time for ripping and a time for sewing.
In order to make the skirt, she first has to open up the ties and take out all the interfacing. Leaving the interfacing in would make thick, bunchy seams. So in order to do this, she’s going to have to rip the ties a bit. She’ll have to do some cutting, but in that, she’ll be preserving.
I may make some pillows out of the remaining ties. Maybe I’ll make one just out of the Christmas ties.
It takes a lot of energy to go through things, so I think this will take a while. Still, I know I can do it. There is a time for everything under heaven, and this is the time. I’ll let you know what happens with the skirt. And how I’m getting along with everything else.
That’s it – it’s all I’ve got. That’s my mite.