The seasons of our lives…
By John M. Settle
I recently experienced an event that almost all of us will have to face at some time in our life. On May 30th, 2022, my mother, France Rose Settle passed away peacefully in her home. Her two sons, two daughters-in-law and three of her six grandchildren were with her.
For several months, it had been apparent to me that mother’s life on this earth was nearing the end and although, I thought I was prepared for that day, I was not.
Even now, almost three months later, it is difficult to for me to believe that I can’t just give her a call to talk about her day or the accomplishments of one of her grandchildren or ten great-grandchildren.
Until that night, she had been a constant in every day of my life. Her passing was a singular event that has caused me to reflect about who I am and how I came to be that person.
All of mom’s friends and family will tell you that she was the sweetest, most loving person you could ever meet. I can attest to that fact, even though I recall being scolded by her from time to time in my younger years. She always did that in a loving manner and to insure I knew right from wrong.
My earliest memories center around my mom. Although dad was always the leader of our family, Momma was always there supporting him and each of her two sons.
Those memories have come flooding back since that night as I have dealt with the task of going through the thousands of photos and written memories she kept on her walls and in her closets.
Mom had saved many things that were obviously important to her. One of the items I found was surprising to me. Both in that she wanted to save it, and in that it demonstrated that I had learned more from her and dad than I had realized back when I was younger.
It was a short paper I had written for my college philosophy class, and it describes my understanding of the seasons of our lives…
My Present Beliefs and Convictions About Life
By Johnny Settle
Over the years, I have come to the conclusion that life is like the seasons of the year. That is, that life consists of different times in your life that can be compared in many ways with the four seasons. Like the seasons of the year, there are many fantastic things to be experienced. Spring’s flowers, Summer’s deep blue skies, Fall’s terrific colors and Winter’s beautiful white snows are all equaled in some way by the seasons of life.
Spring, beginning with the miracle of birth, growing into something beautiful and merging into Summer and maturity, is the most wonderous time of your life.
Summer, it is hard to tell where spring ends and summer begins, but I think that the dividing line comes when you begin to use the foundation of character that you built in your years of Spring. The foundation that keeps you strong, as you begin your adult life and possibly start a family or business of your own.
Fall, when you begin to reap the rewards of all that you have worked hard for. Watching your children begin their Summer years. This is when you determine if you have actually accomplished anything in your life.
Winter, your slow down years, when you begin to remember all the places you have been and all the things that you have done. You share your wisdom with your grandchildren and try to spoil them, despite the efforts of their parents. Then you look back upon your life pondering the things that you have done.
There is a verse from the Bible that I think should rule the heart of everyone during the seasons of their lives. It is the most appropriate law for anyone to live by during this time of strife and hate, when men do not seem to care about their fellow man anymore. It is the law that I try to live by whenever a situation comes up where my actions will affect the life of another person. I am referring, of course, to the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
Living by this rule, along with my faith in God and Jesus Christ, will help me complete the circle of life here on earth and enter into eternal life through the pearly gates of Heaven.
I didn’t become a Rotarian until after I graduated law school, but thanks to my mom and dad, even before I became a Rotarian, I understood the correlation between the “Golden Rule” and the “Four Way Test”.
Although, mom never became a Rotary member, she spent more than fifty years of her marriage to my dad attending every Rotary event that he attended, from the clubs in Anadarko and Chickasha, to meetings across Oklahoma and in dozens of other states. One of her favorites was the meeting in Lake Placid, New York, that they attended in the early ‘70s during dad’s term as the District Governor of District 577. They truly lived the “Four Way Test” in all aspects of their lives.
Wouldn’t our lives be better, if each of us really understood we are only here for four short seasons, and so chose to follow the path my mom and dad demonstrated to me, by living the “Four Way Test” each day of our lives?
Thanks for sharing, John! What a beautiful tribute to your mother and a reminder to all of us to value each day and live it as if it is our last.
I enjoyed reading this John! Thank you for sharing. There is a great deal of wisdom there.