Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Ecclesiastes: "If It Makes You Happy, Why Are You So Sad?"

(Ecclesiastes 1: "What is the Good Life?")
(Ecclesiastes 2: "Hebel Happens")
(Ecclesiastes 3: "He Who Dies with the Most Hebel Wins")
(Ecclesiastes 4: "Fatalism, Flux, and Figs")

Ecclesiastes 4
    I heard a guy say recently,All a man’s labor is for his mouth and yet the  appetite is not satisfied.”  I get that now.  I was feeling good about my new embrace of life, but… how do I know what’s good for me during this lifetime, during the few years of this vaporous life?   I mean REALLY, truly good for me?  I have seized day after day, I’ve tried to enjoy what you have allowed me to have, and I still feel empty.  I feel this overwhelming guilt like I am still wasting something that is already so fleeting. 

    God, I know you gave me something substantial – my life – and you gave me this new desire to maximize my days (whee!)…but I feel like I am wasting them because I don’t think I actually know what true enjoyment looks and feels like.  I am experiencing a shadow of the real thing.  I’m playing at the mud puddle when I should be at the ocean, but I don’t know where the ocean is.

    Someone should write a song: “If it makes you happy, why are you so sad?”  I would laugh, but it's not funny.

Ecclesiastes 5
   I'm feeling a little better for this reason:  I believe I now know what it takes to focus me, to center me, to help me see life for the precious gift it is. 

    I'm feeling a little worse for this reason: I believe this new appreciation for life was found by looking into the face of adversity. I thought maximizing my personal happiness and trying to overlook the harshness of life would help me appreciate life, but it turns out that confronting the reality of death, and entering into mourning and sorrow  - these are  the  things that make us take life seriously. The more I grasp that one day life will end, the more I appreciate that the life I have has not. I tried to drown Hebel in pleasure.  Bad move. Maybe now I will starve it with pain.  (But even as I write that, I think I’m still missing the point).

    HOWEVER…. I also feel a little better for this reason:  I used to think you messed up the world, and that my disillusionment was your fault. Bad God!  But I have been reminded again that you made the world good; we messed it up.  I need to stop blaming you for something we did.  What’s the problem with the world?  We are.  Wait…I am.  The sickness is myself.

Oddly enough, that’s comforting.  I couldn’t fix you to my liking, and that was depressing. But you can fix me to your liking and to mine, and that’s not depressing at all  :)
(Up Next: "Shadows That Cover The Land")

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