A Time for Everything Under Heaven

I was watching PBS tonight and I think it was Pete Seeger singing, ‘To Everything There Is a Season, Turn, Turn, Turn.’ He put the words from Ecclesiastes to music in 1959 and it’s lovely. The Byrds made the song popular in the 60s—theirs is the version I still hear in my head.

Below are the lyrics, a message I wish I had better understood in my teens and twenties: Life is not always light or always dark—always good or always bad. We live in a rhythm of stages and cycles and it is so worth it—the living, I mean. ‘There is a time to gain, and a time to lose.’ This has been our collective time to lose; it’s vitally important to remember that we grow our wisdom from the things that hurt the most.

Here’s Ecclesiastes, where this is expressed so beautifully:

“To everything – turn, turn, turn
There is a season – turn, turn, turn
And a time for every purpose under heaven

A time to be born, a time to die
A time to plant, a time to reap
A time to kill, a time to heal
A time to laugh, a time to weep

To everything – turn, turn, turn
There is a season – turn, turn, turn
And a time for every purpose under heaven

A time to build up, a time to break down
A time to dance, a time to mourn
A time to cast away stones
A time to gather stones together

To everything – turn, turn, turn
There is a season – turn, turn, turn
And a time for every purpose under heaven

A time of war, a time of peace
A time of love, a time of hate
A time you may embrace
A time to refrain from embracing

To everything – turn, turn, turn
There is a season – turn, turn, turn
And a time for every purpose under heaven

A time to gain, a time to lose
A time to rend, a time to sew
A time to love, a time to hate
A time of peace, I swear it’s not too late!

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