Songs of Salvation – Elizabeth Camden

Posted July 28, 2019 by Phyllis Helton in Songs of Salvation /

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Welcome to Songs of Salvation!
Join Christian authors as they share their "Songs of Salvation" to uplift and encourage believers and glorify God. 

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And they have defeated him by the blood of the Lamb and by their testimony. And they did not love their lives so much that they were afraid to die.

Revelation 12:11 NLT


Do you remember a great song called Turn, Turn, Turn by The Byrds? I grew up hearing that song as a little kid and always loved it. Millions of people loved it, and the song shot to Number 1 on Billboard. You can listen to it here:

I didn’t learn until much later that the lyrics for this song lean heavily on Ecclesiastes. There is a timeless appeal to the words that made this song a rare biblical hit with mainstream audiences. Here is the original words from the NIV version of Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

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.

As a young person I tapped my foot and mindlessly sang the lyrics, because you have to admit… it’s a catchy tune! But the words didn’t start sinking in until later in my life. As I get older, the passage has become more profound, especially when put in context of the original text, in which a wise teacher (traditionally assumed to be Solomon, one of the wisest men in the bible,) despairs over his inability to understand the meaning of life. He ponders why mankind works so hard, yet it will all be lost and forgotten. There is nothing new under the sun. He studies, amasses knowledge, but still finds no answer. “I learned that this, too, is chasing the wind.” (Ecclesiastes 1:18)

Then comes the famous Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8, quoted above. What a passage! What a sentiment! It covers the scope of a normal human life, our seasons in the sun and those in mourning. It makes these things seem inevitable, for indeed, most of them are.

For me, there is comfort in this. I am simultaneously going through the most joyous period of my life, but one that has been fraught with a lot of pain, too. In January of this year I switched careers and became a full-time writer. These months without administrative headaches and two hours of a daily commute have been like magic. I feel renewed and restored. I now have the exact career I’ve always dreamed of, and it is better than expected. I feel like I am fulfilling my ultimate calling. It is my season in the sun.

At the same time, I am going through the pain of losing my parents, partly due to Alzheimer’s but also simply the inevitable march of time. I am their caretaker, and this job is more challenging than expected. I also am witnessing loved ones fall victim to drug addiction and conditions that will probably cause them to die far too soon. The frustration of not being able to “fix” them is difficult, but I am coming to terms with it. And who knows? Maybe they will figure a way out of the death spiral they are on. One can hope.

But there will be no happy ending for my parents. After a long and productive marriage, they are winding down, and it has been a brutally painful journey for both of them. It is hard to find meaning in their suffering. I’ve tried, but I give up. I don’t see it.

Back to Solomon and Ecclesiastes. The book takes a dark turn into pessimism and apparent hopelessness in Ecclesiastes 11:8

However many years anyone may live, let them enjoy them all.

But let them remember the days of darkness,

For there will be many.

Everything to come is meaningless.

If King Solomon couldn’t figure it out, I don’t think I can, either. I need to accept that there are seasons of life. Some will be joyous days in the sun, others will be dark and seemingly meaningless. I am learning to understand and accept this. It is normal to feel pain and confusion, and even a sense of hopelessness during some of these seasons. That isn’t a sign of poor faith, and I’ve decided to stop beating myself up for sometimes giving into despair. These are things we are told to accept and live with as much grace as possible. There is a time to be born and a time to die. A time to mourn and a time to dance.  When the despair of life gets me down, I play the song by the Byrds, and it brings a smile of consolation to my face.

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About Elizabeth Camden

I am fortunate to have two careers I deeply love. I am a college librarian by day, and write novels on the weekends.

I become a librarian because I can think of no other career in which you get such a wide exposure to all aspects of recorded knowledge. I have been an academic librarian for fifteen years, where on any given day I get to research the sonnets of Shakespeare, learn what makes pelican feathers pink, or compile demographic statistics for starting a new company.

How does one become a college librarian? In my case, I got an undergraduate degree in History from Trinity University in San Antonio, then went on to earn a master’s degree in History from the University of Virginia, and finally a Master’s in Library Science from Indiana University.

But fiction has always been a wonderful escape for me, and I’ve wanted to be a novelist since the third grade when I was devastated by the bittersweet ending of Charlotte’s Web. I remember vowing to re-write the book with a better ending someday. Although I failed to appreciate how copyright law would thwart my ambition to write better endings for other people’s books, perhaps my early experience with sad novels is why I became a romance novelist.

I love writing books about fiercely intelligent people who are confronted with profound challenges. As a rather introverted person, I have found that writing fiction is the best way for me to share my faith and a sense of resilience with others. For those aspiring writers who are interested in my road to publication, you can find it here.

I married relatively late in life, which turned out to be an odd kind of blessing. I had gotten very good at leading a solo life, and although I was not particularly content being alone, I had become reconciled to it. Then when I was in my mid-thirties and just a few weeks after buying my first house, I met the man I was meant to spend the rest of my life with. My years as a single woman taught me many things. I learned to be independent and resilient. I learned how to manage my investments, earn and save enough money to have investments, mow my own lawn, fix the rickety appliances in my sixty-year old house, and spend the holidays on my own when travel to family was not possible. Most importantly, it taught me never to take my husband for granted. I give daily thanks for the blessing of being able to share a life with my favorite person on the planet.

As for who I really am? I love old Hitchcock films, the hour before sunset, a long, sweaty run through the Florida countryside, and a glass of good wine. After spending my entire adult life on a college campus (either as a student or a librarian) I have finally been able to pursue my ultimate goal of writing professionally.

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One response to “Songs of Salvation – Elizabeth Camden

  1. Alicia Haney

    Hi, that is one of my favorite passages in the Bible, I love it. Congratulations on your new job! And Thank you so very much on your very inspirational words. And I do love the song Turn, Turn, Turn, and now I learned why I love it so much! Being a caretaker for parents is very hard, but very rewarding, we get to do a little something for them that they did for us all our lives. I too helped out and cared for both my dad and my mom, I lost my dad 14 years ago and my mom this past March. It was very challenging but I would not have it any other way. God blessed me with 2 beautiful and very caring parents, so I was able to do a little something for them. God Bless you my friend. Have a Great week.

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