I think a lot of people use the phrase “going through a season,” but Christians use it the most. We’ve filed for the patent but you know how long these things take. It’s just such a delightful little package of words. But I think we need to come to some sort of agreement because I have some friends that are getting way too trigger happy with throwing the “seasons” card.
Here are some general guidelines:
1. One time does not equal a season.
If I ran over a nail the other day and got a flat tire, please don’t tell me “you’re going through a season of car issues.” If anything I am going through a construction area that has a lot of nails. I know it’s a fun phrase to say, but until something happens 2 or 3 times I don’t think we can call it a season.
2. This isn’t conversational ginger.
When you eat sushi, they give you small pieces of ginger that you chew to cleanse your palette between bites. It helps you jump from tuna to salmon to eel without having really awkward flavor transitions. Some people I know will say “you’re just going through a season” when they are ready to transition the conversation to another topic. It’s their subtle signal to you that they want to talk about something else. A relative of mine used to say, “that reminds me” when he was done with a topic. Usually we were in the middle of talking about Frank Miller’s Batman comics and he’d say, “that reminds me” and then start talking about chili. No, that’s not possible, chili does not remind you of comic books. I wish instead of doing this people would say, “hey, I want to talk about me now” because that’s essentially what they are saying when they pull a fake seasons or “that reminds me.”
3. I might just be going through a season of idiocy.
I have worked at 8 different companies in the last 10 years since graduating from Samford University. To say that I have difficulty staying at one job is a grand understatement. If I call you and say, “Hey, I am thinking about leaving my job,” don’t worry about giving me the seasons line, just say, “Wow, you are dumb.” Sometimes calling something a season is a great way to take the responsibility for consequences off our own shoulders. I am horrible at staying at jobs, but if I blame it on a “season” I won’t ever work on it and stay longer somewhere.
4. Mix best seasons with bad seasons carefully.
My favorite response in conversations where someone tells me they are in a bad season is to simply say, “wow, that sucks.” I’m tempted to tell them that things will get better soon or that I’m in a good season which is proof that God is still good and that they shouldn’t get mad at Him. But maybe that’s bad advice. Maybe when I tell you about my awesome season I’m just throwing a my band aid on your neck wound. Maybe it’s OK for Christians to say, “that thing that just happened? That was really painful and disappointing and frustrating.”
I’m cool with the phrase overall. I think calling something a “season” captures a slice of life in an easy to understand way. In fact, I’ve been in a season for about 31 years. A season of sarcasm. (I’m 32, but when I was 7, I took a year off to study with a group of sarcasm monks in the deep forests of the Ozarks.)
p.s. Thanks to the many people that emailed me this idea. I am going through a season of receiving great ideas from readers.