To Everything There is a Season

By John Wikoff

For years I hung a decoration in my bathroom that contained the first part of the verse from Ecclesiastes 3:1: “To everything there is a season.”  It was a wonderful reminder and a truth that I applied to my work experiences as well as other life experiences.  When I retired from teaching Language Arts to Junior High students and began working in Hospitality at OSF HealthCare, I believed one season of my life had ended and another season began.

Recently we purchased a new home and once again I’m reminded of that timeless truth and remembering what a wonderful season it was to live at 423 W. Hudson Street in Peoria for the first part of our married life of 28 years.

I recall as if it were yesterday my fiancé, Eileen Reagan, telling me she had made an offer on a house she saw on August 11, 1993.  She had been looking at houses for a short time when her realtor called and said she had found the house Eileen was looking for, a beautiful home with character.

Eileen saw it and fell in love with it and called me at work and said I must go by and look at it. I only saw it from the outside but I liked it and encouraged her to go for it.  She made the offer that same day.  It was accepted and it became our starter and dream home.  That was St. Clare’s feast day!

In a rare twist it was 28 years later on the same day, August 11 of this year that we received two offers for our Hudson Street home.  We accepted the second offer and now our beloved home belongs to someone else.  We hope and pray that they will come to love it as much as we did.  Accepting the offer on August 11 that many years later gives us the thought that God has a sense of timing.  We’ve also renewed our claim on St. Clare as our home patron.

When I think about our Hudson Street home, I remember several of the special spaces within it.  The guest bedroom on the first floor holds particular memories.  At the time, Eileen wanted a bedroom and bath on the first floor so her parents from Ottawa, IL could stay with us when they visited Peoria.  Her father’s heart doctor was in Peoria and mom and dad Reagan stayed overnight on many occasions for appointments, etc.  When dad was hospitalized for short periods, it was convenient to have her mother stay with us.

My favorite room in our home was the dining room.  Sitting in Papa Bear’s chair, I could look out of six large windows and see the sun rising in the eastern sky in the morning and the shadows of the sunset after dinner.  Whenever I paused to take it in, I beheld the miracle of daily living in the sights and sounds that reverberated up and down Hudson Street.  In every season the street came alive with walkers, runners and young families pushing baby strollers.

In our bedroom on the second floor, we hung a framed picture of a smiling Pope St. John Paul ll extending an Apostolic Blessing for our wedding date of February 12, 1994.  Bishop John Myers had requested it from the Holy Father to celebrate the love and friendship we shared with him as our bishop.  It came to us from Cardinal Agostino Cacciavillan, the Apostolic Nuncio to the United States in 1994. It was our most cherished wedding gift and remains a treasured keepsake.

As we settle into our new home on Rhonda Way in Dunlap, we look forward to creating a warm and welcoming space here as well.  Nonetheless, I’m reminded by St. Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians that we have no permanent home here. “For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” 2 Corinthians 5:1

Here we must remember to travel light, as pilgrims on a journey. Heaven is our true home.  Still, while we are living in these particular places, God’s loving providence provides a shelter, a home, a living space of treasured memories.  We are encouraged by the Holy Spirit to make these temporary homes places where family and friends can gather and together, we experience a little bit of heaven here on earth.

February 13, 2022 - 10:51pm

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