I've been thinking about birthdays, as I hit another one today.
This one comes after an difficult job loss. I have more time to ponder.
My husband channel hopped to a throw-back SNL episode with Patrick Swayze hosting, a fine specimen of a man (though not my type) with his Fabio style locks coiffed with a layered cut and blow dry. They did racy skits poking fun at Dirty Dancing, Ghost and other hit films of the day.
I got the impression that it was hip and big and everyone in that New York studio felt cool and with-it and important to be a part of it all.
25 years later, who remembers? Who thinks about it? Are those names revered or reminisced?
Another year gone by, I ask, Did I do anything that was remembered?
What will I do this year that will be captured in anyone's mind?
Or is that the point?
No, it's not. Fame and the pursuit of making a name are foolish ambitions.
Stumbling on Ecclesiastes this morning, I read the same. Solomon writes "For what has man for all his labor, for the striving of his heart (stress) and for his toil under the sun?....I made my works great, built houses, planted vineyards and gardens, orchards and pools. I gathered herds and flocks and servants, musicians and instruments- all the things that delight the soul."
He had made it.
He had arrived!
But it wasn't enough, for he laments that he will leave his accumulated wealth, possessions and accomplishments to another.
The point is to do good. That is what truly satisfies. Even God said it at the very beginning.
God created ...... And it was good. Was the 'good ' in reference to the excellence of His created object? Yes.. But might I say it was also referring to the fact that God was satisfied in doing something good.
Do something good and you will be satisfied.
When we cut corners or cheat or hate, it leaves an undercurrent of anxiety. We are vexed inside. We exist with this sludge in our hearts. All the pleasures and possessions in the world won't alleviate the problem. The quick fix dies fast.
But when we do good, the heart feels light and free and clean. When we resist lashing back when we've been unjustly treated; when we love our enemies and pray for those who have wronged us; when we pursue relationships instead of recoiling in bitterness, the satisfaction of doing right enlivens us. We can put our heads on our pillows in the comfort of peace.
Later Solomon gets it.
"For I know there is nothing better for a man than to rejoice and to do good in their lives.."
Here's to a year of pursuing and doing, to the best of my God-given ability, what is good.