Celebration of the Seasons of Life

By


“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

“A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; …

“A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; …

“… for there is a time … for every purpose and for every work” (Eccl. 3:1–2, 4, 17).

As we learn in Ecclesiastes, our lives are filled with contrasting seasons. Following are images and a story that reflect some of the seasons of our lives and our relationships with one another across the generations.

A Man Swinging(click to view larger) Winter Dancing(click to view larger)

A Man Swinging (left) and Winter Dancing (right), both by Brian T. Kershisnik, capture the energy and joy that come when it is our “time to laugh” and our “time to dance” (Eccl. 3:4).

“One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh” (Eccl. 1:4).

Grandma(click to view larger)

We see the joy and influence of overlapping generations in Grandma, by Anne Marie Oborn (right), and in the story “Grandma’s Gift,” by Monica Millward Weeks.

Grandma Is a Story-teller(click to view larger)

As we pass through the seasons of our life, we gain experience. In Grandma Is a Story-teller, by Judith Mehr, children listen eagerly to their grandmother’s stories.

Watermelon Patch(click to view larger)

In Watermelon Patch, by Mark Keathley, a grandfather teaches his grandchildren simple truths about the law of the harvest.

Memories of Grandpa(click to view larger)

In Memories of Grandpa, by Kimball Warren, a grandfather and grandson share a horse and time together.

In each of these works, hearts are being turned from “the fathers to the children” and from “the children to their fathers” as promised in Malachi 4:5–6 [Mal. 4:5–6] (see also D&C 2:1–3).

Generations II: Circle of Strength(click to view larger)

In Generations II: Circle of Strength, by Keith Mallett, we see the hearts of a father, grandfather, and great-grandfather being turned to the newest generation.

Turning the Heart of a Child to Her Ancestors(click to view larger)

In the soft sculpture Turning the Heart of a Child to Her Ancestors, by Margery Sorensen Cannon, we see a granddaughter looking to her grandmother to share memories of the past.

Grandma’s Gift

When I was five years old, my grandmother Elsie Millward gave me a precious gift—a subscription to the Friend magazine. Although my father was raised as a member of the Church, he was not active, and my mother was not a member. We lived far away from my grandparents and other relatives who were Church members. So the Friend was essentially my first exposure to the Church.

I was a voracious reader, and I loved reading the stories in the Friend. There were stories about pioneer children from long ago, children who lived on the other side of the world, and children pretty much like me. Although I didn’t understand much about the Church’s doctrine, I did understand what it meant to be kind and to share with others, and the stories reinforced the values my parents taught me.

But some of the ideas in the Friend were new to me. One concept that was particularly confusing to my young mind was that of the Holy Ghost. Was He really a ghost? Did He haunt people, like ghosts in the movies did? How could He help people and talk to them when He didn’t even have a body? Then one day I read a story called “The Comforter” by Laura Dene Card (Friend, Mar. 1981, 32–34). The little girl in the story, Jenni Lynn, had the same questions I did. Jenni Lynn’s mother explained to her that the Holy Ghost is also called the Comforter and that He helps us feel warm and safe—like a comforter that you would wrap around your body.

Suddenly I understood what it meant to have the Holy Ghost with me. I had felt His presence before and not even realized it. Over the years, I experienced many small testimony-building moments like this while reading the Friend.

My grandmother renewed my subscription to the Friend every year until I was 12 and old enough to start receiving the New Era. That year, my mother, sister, and I were baptized by my reactivated father.

My grandmother has since passed on, but I am grateful to her for her gift. It must have seemed like a small gift at the time, but it was one with eternal rewards for our family.

Monica Millward Weeks is a member of the Dimple Dell Park Ward, Sandy Utah Granite View Stake.