Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Ecclesiastes: "Hebel Happens"

(From Ecclesiastes, Chapter 1)

Okay, God, here we go. This is going to be very different from that song I wrote about love and those pithy Proverbs I compiled.  I was younger then.  A lot of life has flowed under the bridge since then.  This time the subject's going to be tougher, but I am committed to being honest  in what I write.  It’s not like anyone else is going to read it.

Here is my opinion about life:  everything I see around me is meaningless and insignificant.  I see the vapor rising from the lake in the morning, and I think, “That’s what life is like.”  It’s worthless. The best Hebrew word I know to do it justice is  hebel.   Everything we do in life vaporizes like that mist under this hot, miserable sun.  We are like mice in a wheel; we run in circles for no apparent reason. I’m sure it’s entertaining to watch, but it’s pointless. All in all, it’s just another brick in my palace wall. I am thinking of a new bumper sticker for my chariot: “Hebel happens.” Or something like that.

Honestly, looking at the world you made doesn’t help.  The earth, the sun, the wind, the rivers - they're beautiful, but it’s just the same thing over and over again: the earth spins, the sun rises, the wind blows, the rivers run to the ocean. Then they do it again. Sure, it’s pretty, but it’s pointless. I don’t find this encouraging.

I am afraid that’s my life too – pretty but pointless.

Everything is wearing me out. I’ve seen so many wonders, but all I think about is what I haven’t seen yet. I have heard so much, but it just reminds me of all the things I haven’t heard yet.  But what does it matter, really? There is nothing new under this blazing hot, predictable, futile sun.  I've gotten so cynical and selfish that I don't ever think about things that don’t happen to me - right here, right now. I'm stuck on me in the moment.  I hesitate to write that when my friends die, I will mourn for an hour and forget them.  

How is it possible to be simultaneously so self-centered and so unsatisfied? 

(Up Next:  "He Who Dies With The Most 'Hebel' Wins")

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