I have been light and airy for the past few weeks and wouldn’t you just know that serious introspection is beginning to catch up and overtake me. It is not quite a roller coaster ride of highs and lows but one of ebbs and flows—I am probably always a little bit of both—sometimes one aspect of my personality edges out the other and so on and so forth. My life has been one of mostly even keel with a few storms to press through—a few mountains to climb—some desserts to cross—you get the picture.
As I write I am reminded of a time where my personality was addressed in the marketplace. I was probably in my late twenties or early thirties and was a frequent shopper at a certain supermarket where I would often run into the same cashier. She was always cordial but one day told me that she thought I must be a big fraud. And her proof was that I always seemed to be in a good mood and since she knew that this wasn’t possible, I must be a fake. In other words, she was mad at me because I was happy and she wasn’t and in her picture of life, her reality was more the norm than mine.
You can imagine that I was a little suprised by her pronouncement and really don’t remember what my reply was. I seem to recall that I told her I was just that way and left it at that knowing full well that she wouldn’t understand any explantation I would offer as a rebuttal.
It has been my observation that as we grow older we generally become more philosophical—asking more questions about what we have believed and based our lives on up to this point.
Last night as I was watching CSI Miami, a thought crossed my path and I wrote it down in my journal. The essence of the thought was: is there anything left of us here after we die?
It was a semi-disturbing thought in the sense that bundled up in that one thought are many other side-shoots that can within themselves be overwhelming as well.
What are we here for? What is the purpose of life? What is real and what is not? Am I making the most of my life?
There are probably a few you could add as well.
But the thought of one day being here and the next day not and how that plays out is at the top of the heap.
As a Christian, I believe in eternity—that in some form (spirit) we will live forever after this mortal body puts on immortality. That some of us won’t die, but will be transformed in the twinkling of an eye. It is all explained in 1st Corinthians 15.
I do further believe that we make deposits in people’s lives and in those deposits we do live on within them to some degree when we pass on. But where do we go when they in turn pass on. In the material world it seems we cease to be, unless we have achieved some sort of enduring fame like King David. Even though King David has not walked this earth in some time, he exists in my mind as if he were a real person—his story has impacted my life and the decisions I have made about it.
Dictionary dot com defines “immortality” as:
1. The quality or condition of being immortal.
2. Endless life or existence.
3. Enduring fame.
I remember when my dad died and as I was the oldest, it was my job to fly to California and take care of his “effects”; which in his case was an apartment full of stuff that he had collected over his 70 plus years. I boxed up a lot of it and sent it back to my house—sold his car and had a little yard sale within his complex. I then sent my sister and brothers what they wanted and kept a few things of his that at the time had some meaning. However, after all these years, there is very little left of what he once was, possesion-wise. From time to time I run into something I have saved of his—a picture here and a cup or mug there—but mostly he has left the building.
Of course he sowed values and principles into my life—I am not denying that at all. But where he ends and I begin personality wise—I am not quite sure of. We are a blended people—a little Irish here and little German or French there. Throw in some Mexican/Spanish/Italian and American Indian and what do you have. And of course there is the Asian, the African and the Middle Eastern. If you paid my way, I’d go to most any country and eat what they eat, walk thier streets and be happy about it.
After lunch today, I talked with a friend of mine about the thoughts rumbling around my head. After listening for a while he said that he thought I was really wrestling with whether or not I felt that I am “successful”. And that if we consider success to be a material type thing most of us would fall short. But that in a spiritual sense, just passing on Godly values to our children would bring us to the top.
I do agree with him—but that is not totally what I am reaching for today. It may be as simple as having a plan for tomorrow—any plan other than just getting up, eating breakfast and going to work. As I told my friends Josh and Renee as they prepared to depart to Africa for a stay of up to 5 years, they were blessed in the fact that they knew at an early age the course their lives were to take. Just getting out of bed in the morning and knowing that life has a greater purpose than what a job or avocation can provide is indeed a great thing.
Maybe that is what Solomon meant at the end of Ecclesiastes when he wrote:
Remember your Creator
in the days of your youth,
before the days of trouble come
and the years approach when you will say,
“I find no pleasure in them”-
and that life without God in it and His purposes being fulfilled was…”vanity and striving after wind.”
As I take my bike ride after work today, you can bet that’s what I will be thinking about.
Enjoy your ride.