I believe it was the book of Ecclesiastes that really sums up human life in a very impersonal but truthful way. Basically, the human condition is rather dismal; we are like fish caught in a cruel net.
Do you see My step-dad Michael? He is in that brown clay pot on that table with the white cloth on it. He is no longer the man who married my mom when I was four years old, no longer the one who would make funny monkey faces at me and no longer is the man who built me a clubhouse from scratch. His physical life has now been stuffed into that clay pot.
He was such a handsome young man. He was adopted and did not know his birth parents. His life was scarred with manic depression, prescription meds, back pain, and emotional outbursts. But that was not all he was. Michael was my step dad. He was the first one to tell me about Jesus, and I listened, even though I struggled because of his imperfections. He was kind-hearted and had a joyful innocence when the mental illness was at bay. He was excited to give and excited to make you feel loved. I have cried many tears for Michael and look forward to our reunion in heaven; mostly to tell him how much I love him and how sorry I am for not making more time for him in the few years before he died. I have a beautiful ring he had made for me in 2010 when I graduated college. After he died, that ring became the most important thing I own.
Ecclesiastes also reminds us to feel the sun upon our faces and enjoy it. To work with our hands for however long or short God has allowed us to live. Other parts of the Bible remind us to study what love truly is (1st Corinthians Chapter 13) and to live it. We also must forgive.
So as this human condition is wasting away quickly, we are called to embrace each day in gratitude. Today my back pain rages, but I can still taste my morning cup of coffee, I can still feel the sun on my face, and I can tell my child that I love him.
My humanity is fading. My human experience will one day soon be a memory to those I leave behind, but my spirit will experience new life and the Bible says it will receive a new glorified body that is eternal. No more back pain. No more emotional scars because of divorce and no more foul and wicked reports on the nightly news.
The most important lesson I take from all of this is L-O-V-E. I want love to always come out of my mouth. I want to saturate evil with love, offense with forgiveness. I want my hands and feet to be quick to rush into love. I want to look deep within myself and let go…. let go of any selfish ambition and insecure motives left within me.
That will put the meaning in my otherwise meaningless days. Love will allow my works on earth to echo into eternity.