Tag Archives: dust to dust

42: Meaningless

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So I hated life, because the work that is done under the sun was grievous to me. All of it is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.” Ecclesiastes 2:17 NIV

Dear old cheerful book of Eccles, how I love your honesty! It seems appropriate today, on day 42 of the Veil of Tears, to talk about the meaning of life. However you calculate it, as I sit here playing solitaire on my laptop because my brain is too tired to do much else, life seems pretty meaningless. But these sayings, often attributed to Solomon, are talking mainly about the pointlessness of striving or working for material goods, and the lack of purpose to a life lived solely for earthly rewards.

Indeed, we might say that making riches or fame your goal, since we all die anyway, is pointless. Ecclesiastes goes to great lengths to remind us that we cannot take it with us. In my case, there’s very little to take, and so it is not hard for me to think that meaning must have its seat somewhere else. If our final result is the grave or the ceramic jar, then there really is no point and we may as well live how we like and throw all cares to the wind the writer of the book says we are chasing.

We can all feel from time to time, that our lives are purposeless, pointless, meaningless. Even if we help others, we’re all going to die, so what does it matter? But within an eternal universe, every action and thought matter, however small, because everything is forming us for a different kind of existence. Sometimes the work is onerous and the things we go through seem too hard and of little import. But the Lord sees it all, and even the tiniest effort, made from, through and with love, matters.

But whilst we know this and we can talk forever about the wonders of love and how it makes meaning out of everything in life, the seeming good and bad, there are still those times of feeling utterly bereft and forsaken. When it’s all so tough and we just say within ourselves, what’s the point? I am having one of those moments as I write this. And I have to hold onto my mustard seed of faith and tell myself that this writing does mean something. That my life does matter. That I am making a difference. That my art, however little and unskilled it is, improves the world. Because everything that makes life better, everything that calls out the bright and the beautiful, the true and the good, is meaningful, even as it praises the maker of all things and as it brings more and more of his kingdom into ours, preparing our weary hearts and souls for a new way of being.

 

©Keren Dibbens-Wyatt

photo from Pixabay

4: Dust to Dust

4 dust   yassil MF

“All go to one place. All are from the dust, and to dust all return.”

Ecclesiastes 3:20

 

Since our theme for this year is misery and brokenness, I suspect we shall be revisiting Ecclesiastes (known in our house as the Book of Eccles) quite often. Seen as quite a depressing collection of wisdom sayings, I grow fonder of it as I grow older, for the sight here is plain and free of ego, and all is laid bare. This facing of facts is refreshing in a Christian culture that seeks to put a positive spin on everything.

Because sometimes, there isn’t a silver lining, only more cloud. Some people never get to see their potential fulfilled (in fact, I’d argue that most don’t). Some people don’t even get to be born, or they leave us far too early because of a drunk driver, or because they were a drunk driver. Or they were just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Reminding us that the main certainty in life is that we are all headed for death, is actually quite comforting to me, and it can be so not from a nihilistic point of view, that such thinking makes life devoid of all meaning, but because it reinforces the transient and temporal nature of this earthly life and our often weary or slowly disintegrating bodies.

We are all, like it or not, falling to bits, and the real questions are not about how we avoid that, or stay fit or try to look younger, or find our God-given health and prosperity (and yacht, don’t forget the yacht), but rather, what do we believe that makes this life bearable? What is actually the meaning that transcends the dust? Can we live with the faith that eternity with our Lord is the real prize? That there is a part of us that returns home to him at the end of our days and is free?

If we cannot see beyond our three score and ten, we are blind indeed, and whilst God is intimately interested in all we do, and does have plans for us, loving us in our flesh so much that he chose to live out a life within it too, it is our immortal spirit that truly needs to find its way. And we begin that journey here and now, for the Kingdom of God, the realm of the eternal, is indeed near at hand, close as our own breath.

©Keren Dibbens-Wyatt

Photo from Morguefile.com