THAT'S LIFE: How do you respond to diverse seasons in life?

Saturday November 11 2017

Submerged vehicles in Eldoret town following heavy rain on August 5, 2014. FILE PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA

Submerged vehicles in Eldoret town following heavy rain on August 5, 2014. It rained cats and dogs last week. It caught me off guard. I had left my umbrella at home and I had to take shelter in a nearby building I had walked to. FILE PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

It rained cats and dogs last week. It caught me off guard. I had left my umbrella at home and I had to take shelter in a nearby building I had walked to.

I was not alone. Many others huddled beside me, waiting. Some cursed the unpredictable weather. Others were happy that they had some shelter.

One said that we ought to be grateful for the rain because it meant that water rationing and drought was over.

On my part, I cursed because I was surely going to be late for an appointment. All because I had not been prepared.

It seemed that there was going to be no letting up, and so I called the people I was meeting to tell them about the hold-up. Meanwhile, the heavens poured rain like it would never rain again.

Fortunately, after half an hour of waiting, the rain begun to ease into a consistent drizzle. Suddenly, someone I knew appeared with an umbrella.

Excited to see her, I asked if she could walk with me to my car. She was happy to do so.

As I drove off, I thought about that episode. Wasn’t life like that? Didn’t it sometimes catch us unawares? Yet there was a lesson here. It was this. Life is full of constant, predictable and unpredictable change.

There is not much we can do about unpredictable change, like an unexpected rain shower in the middle of the hottest season of the year, or a sudden earthquake. No-one sees these things coming.  However, much of life has predictable change. That’s why city hawkers begin to sell umbrellas in the rainy season and bottled water in the hot season. They know it is coming and they prepare to make money off the misfortune of those who are caught unawares.

If you live in the Northern hemisphere, every year you will notice that the seasons come with predictability. Here in East Africa, the seasons are less defined, and we generally have a cold season, a rainy season and a hot, dry season. We also have a general indication of when these seasons come about.

Life is much like that. It has different seasons which will come our way with predictability. Each of those seasons is identified by certain characteristics. A friend who visited one of the countries in the Northern hemisphere in what is called the Fall season, told me it was a beautiful sight as the leaves on trees turned into glorious oranges, yellows and reds. Nature responds to seasons. Why do we stubbornly refuse to do the same?

You see, your life will have clear seasons. There will be happy, carefree summers in all aspects, including your health, relationships and careers. My days at university felt like one long, happy summer.

Life also has its winters. We are tested in the winters of life. We experience loss, grief, frustration, difficulty and anxiety in our winters. These could be caused by a death in the family, a retrenchment, a health crisis or even a relationship crisis.

The spring of life is a time of growth, renewal and opportunity. This is the time to take advantage and plant new ideas or nurture new relationships. It is when we let go of what was so we can be fully present to what is, and recognise what will be. Spring asks us to work, even if that work is to just plant a fruit or a flower tree. Spring is our investment season.

The fall season of life, is one in which we shed off what is negative. It is a pruning season too. It is here we let go of negative beliefs, toxic relationships and addictions. Sometimes, we have to let go of what looks beautiful too because it is time, or it no longer fits us, so we can embrace something more magnificent in the future.

You can go through the different seasons in a day or month or like in nature, in a year. Sometimes a season lasts for several years. What then is our response?

We need to ask ourselves where we are, and prepare for the next season. Enjoy the good times but prepare for difficult ones. Nature shows the way. Let’s not always be caught unprepared.