a time to kill, and a time to heal

For everything there is a season and a time for every matter under heaven:

a time to kill, and a time to heal Ecclesiastes 3:3


Image NASA via MODIS Rapid Response Team

‘On December 8, 2007, NASA’s Aqua satellite captured this image of fires burning on Kangaroo Island, just off the coast of South Australia. Places, where the sensor detected active fire, are outlined in red. Thick, grey-brown smoke spreads eastward over Encounter Bay. (Earth Observatory) 

The fires remained out of control until the 14 December 2007, when the South Australian Country Fire Service officially announced that all fires were contained.

The Kangaroo Island bushfires were considered a natural disaster, initiated by a series of lightning strikes, and exacerbated by unusual weather patterns, including severe wind and extreme heat. The Centre for Australian Weather and Climate Research




We drove through Kangaroo Island not long after the fire. The scorched and silent landscape emanated a tragic eeriness.

Ten years later I visited the island again. Evidence of the fire remains but the beauty and promise produced by regrowth generated the sensation of hope.

Sometimes it’s only when we reflect back can we see the growth born of tragedy. We don’t wish for disasters,  but they do come.

Writing about the upheaval in our past can sometimes highlight growth that has occurred unconsciously. Can you look back on a difficult time and brainstorm a list of associated words – emotions, feelings, actions, consequences…anything that comes to mind?

When you’ve exhausted this, choose a new page and sit quietly in the present. Can you write a list of words that describe evidence of healing and hope?




A time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted.

a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted

Ecclesiastes 3:2


In the late 1800’s, the Neuman family immigrated from England to the fledgeling colony of South Australia. Following a tough beginning, including the loss of their son on the voyage, they eventually took a significant business risk. When they established a plant nursery in a remote area on the outskirts of the city,  many considered it madness. Yet it was a huge success, attracting customers from all over Adelaide to purchase plants.

I hiked into the area recently to view the old ruins of the homestead. Isolated tracks such as Perseverance Rd and Torture Hill reflect the challenging setting. In the remote location, I found it difficult to imagine a thriving business. And then I noticed clusters of tiny orchids growing amidst the native flora, seeded from plants of previous generations.


In 1912 a major flood ruined much of the nursery and over the next few decades, the land was used as a dairy and then for sheep grazing. The final devastation came in 1985 when the buildings were destroyed by bushfires.

Despite the tragedies, Newman’s Nursery is still a thriving business, in a new location closer to the main road.

Have you ever taken a risk? Did it result in new seeds? Or not?


Take 5 minutes and write your reflections.



A time to be born, and a time to die

For everything there is a season and a time for every matter under heaven:

a time to be born, and a time to die; Ecclesiastes 3:2


Photo used with permission: © Fabrizio Pece

Despite my mum arriving at the Duke St Hospital in the full swing of labour with me, the staff couldn’t admit her. At the height of the baby boomer years, it wasn’t uncommon for Labour Ward to be full.  My mum and dad were rushed by ambulance out of the city to a tucked away place they had never heard of.

Lennox Castle was an institution built for societies ‘misfits.’  A purpose built wing had been added as a maternity hospital to cater for the city’s overflow of mothers.

When I reflect on the story of my birth, I can’t help feel the irony. In one section new babies created an atmosphere of new life.


Lennox Castle  Photo used with permission: © Jacha Hoste 

Permanent residents in the main area have recounted tragic stories of their time there, describing the insidious death of their spirit.

Following the movement of de-institutionalisation, Lennox Castle stood in ruins for a number of years and has since been demolished. This photo reflects for me today’s verse, ‘a time to be born, and a time to die.’

It’s symbolic of what has become my life work with vulnerable communities, many who struggle with mental health issues.

What else was happening in the world around you? Did the circumstances impact your life as you experience it today?


Spend 5 minutes writing about your own ‘time to be born.’ 


For everything there is a season…

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:

Ecclesiastes 3:1


While hiking through a segment of the Hysen Trail, the blaze of golden wattle heralded early signs of spring. Less than a month ago, walking along a different portion of the trail, the heavens opened without warning and dumped freezing cold rain on me.

This transition from winter to spring makes it a season of unpredictability. Life is exactly the same. In a twinkling everything can change and the plans we have for our future evaporate.

The phrase ‘under heaven’ struck me powerfully. It implies a protective covering. Under God’s protection, no one need weather the storms of life on their own.

Is there a ‘storm’ in your life right now?


Why not write a request for protection? Or a thank you note for a time when you experienced protection in the past?


Everything Has Its Time


Photo used with permission: © Fabrizio Pece

 Ecclesiastes 3

For everything there is a season and a time for every matter under heaven:

a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;

a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;

a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

a time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to throw away;

a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.


In 1965 the popular band, the Byrds, released ‘Turn! Turn! Turn!’ a song based on Ecclesiastes 3.

Over the next few weeks, Season to Journal will focus on this chapter, verse by verse. For today read over the whole chapter.

Is there a particular verse that reflects the current season of your own life?


Write out the verse and for the next 5 minutes allow any subsequent words to flow.