When reality knocks on your door
By By PASTOR M | September 28th 2013
By PASTOR M
I had a serious case of a writer’s block while working on this article! I was writing it as the liberation of Westgate Mall was underway (I refuse to call it a siege - trained commandoes using automatic weapons on unarmed civilians doesn’t qualify for that word). So anyway, back to my block. As I analysed why it was so difficult to start, I realised that in the light of what was going on nationally, what I had planned to write didn’t seem quite as important. I’m not at all saying that it wasn’t smart, or witty or deep but the national situation around just seemed to demand so much more… thoughtfulness?
Anyway, that got me to ponder on some words written by the smartest man who ever lived. In his reflections, King Solomon wrote, ‘it is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting’. Strange words from a man who had a strong inclination towards partying and beautiful women! But Solomon wisely noted that we learn a lot more from facing tragic times than from sailing through ecstatic ones. And one of the reasons for that is that in difficulty, we come face to face with ultimate reality.
One of my professors used to say that human beings arrange their entire existence around the denial of death. We prefer to live life like we’re immortal and get dismayed when at a certain age, our bodies begin to indicate that we won’t be ‘forever young’. We do our best to dye the greying strands, smooth out the receding hairline and either work out or cover up the protruding midriff! We do our best to stay frozen in time and love it when people compliment how young we look. All this is in a rather futile attempt to live forever!
And yet like they say, the only things certain in life are death and taxes. Smart people across the world have gotten away with evading taxes but no genius has yet figured out how to cheat death. With the odds against our living forever being so high (100 per cent to be precise), perhaps we should spend a little more time accepting, thinking about and preparing for old age and (work with me here) for the after life. Just in case such a state does exist!
I know, all this sounds pretty morbid! Now I’m not in any way suggesting we quit striving and achieving and enjoying and living life to the full. Only that this last week, the veil that blinds us from ultimate reality was violently ripped away at Westgate. I pray we don’t too quickly rush back to business as usual.
Perhaps we owe it to ourselves to live a little more thoughtfully and certainly more keen to discover the purpose our Creator made us for so we can live it to the full.
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