A Book For All Seasons

As I mentioned in a previous post, I recently had the privilege of reading Jeff Goin’s new bestseller, The In-Between: Embracing the Tension Between Now and the Next Big Thing. Having read his book, Wrecked, I looked forward to this book with some excitement. As I read the forward, I became even more excited. “She wasn’t waiting for the good part,” Shauna Niequist wrote, “She knows that these are the good parts, even while they are the bad parts.” Yes! I wanted to shout. I wanted to tweet it, even though I don’t have a twitter account. This sums up my life at this exact moment. In Christ, even the bad parts are good!

This is the underlying message of Goins’ book; Even the bad parts of life, the waiting time, the in-between times, have a purpose. He uses his own life journey to help us understand that while we tend to measure our lives by the big events, much of the important stuff happens in the daily grind. At the end of each chapter about the author’s personal journey, we are given a glimpse into someone else’s in-between experience to round out the message of that particular chapter.

My life has been one of learning the lessons in this book: to embrace the mundane, to slow down enough to enjoy the moment, to not wish away today for another day, to learn from whatever today holds. For me, it has to do with believing that God’s plan includes every minute of my day, so there is no wasted time on His end. It’s my job not to waste the time on mine. So I can’t say that I learned anything particularly new in the reading of this book. It was more a case of being reminded of what my focus should be.

What was interesting to me was how much the message permeated my life in terms of my dealing with other people. As I listened to my 20 year old daughter’s discouragement over what Jeff would describe as an in-between time in her life, I found myself telling her, “I wish you wouldn’t see this as waisted time. You are learning some really important things right now. And when the timing is right for you to get that dream job, you will have so much experience to bring to the table. Try to be patient with the process.”  I encouraged my 19 year old son not to fret too much about trying to plot his whole life out, but to take it one step at a time. I gave a devotional at a shower in which I encouraged the young mother do her best to enjoy each phase of her daughter’s life, without wishing she would hurry up to the next phase.

As with Wrecked, I think this book would be particularly helpful to those in the throes of their 20’s. To me, it is the age in which the lessons of living in the in-between would be most helpful to learn. If they can learn it young, it will carry them through many bumps in the road to come. Having said that, there is definitely a message here for people of any age. So much of life is applying the same lessons in a different setting. This book would be a good one to keep around and read periodically to remind you to make the most of the day you are given.

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3 Responses to A Book For All Seasons

  1. Love it! I think that my whole life is a big long example of learning to love the moments, the small moments because they are as much a part of my story as the big ones, and they make the big ones more precious because the hard work of waiting, content and with a smile, has been done. 🙂

  2. Paul O'Rear says:

    I love the way you captured the spirit of Jeff’s book! It’s interesting seeing the things that our 20-something children fret about, and realizing that we were once them. Obviously they can’t see things through our eyes because they don’t have our years of experiences – good and bad – to provide them with the perspective that we have. And, oh yeah, we were once them and couldn’t see things from our current perspective either. That’s why it’s good that they have us to help them with perspective! I love the way you helped your kids look at their situations a little differently.

    My 24-year-old son just got married (bring on the grandkids!), and just started a new job in his chosen career field. I was going through old pictures about a week ago and found one of him, probably 2 or 3 years old, wearing a bow tie and a sweater vest, sitting in my easy chair with his legs crossed, looking all “grown up”. For some reason that picture really tugged at my heartstrings, and made me realize how powerful the advice is that you gave that young mother: cherish every moment! Don’t rush things. They will grow up fast enough. And when they do, hopefully you will have lots of wonderful memories and photographs and videos to hold onto and to remember, even as you enjoy the current moments with their new adult-sized adventures.

    Great review, Deanna!

    • Thanks, Paul, for your comments. I also told that young mother that we are not guaranteed a certain number of years – something you know about. It reminds me of Psalm 90:12 “So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”
      May your children bless you with grand children, and may they bring as much joy to you as mine do to me!

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