A few weeks ago I was deciding on a book of the Bible I wanted to read in my time of daily reflection. I found the perfect part of the Bible to fit my mood, the book of Ecclesiastes. For those of you who are unfamiliar with that particular piece of scripture, let me summarize it with a phrase that recurs throughout, “Everything is meaningless.” Reading this poetry is the closest thing to doom scrolling you’ll do in the Bible. Wait…forgot about the book of Revelation.
Anyway, it did fit my dour pandemic-weary mood. Some people call it “real” or “insightful” but honestly, it’s a downer. Yes, it makes you pause and reflect on the meaning of life. That’s good. But, wow, it sure is a mood killer. “It’s better to spend time at funerals than parties; after all, everyone dies”, “don’t long for the good old days, this is not wise”, “enjoy prosperity when you can…remember that nothing is certain in this life…”
Ya think? Gosh.
Those last few lines I read just this morning and I kinda snapped. I’m tired of being so dark, so moody, so brooding, I thought. I can’t wave my magic wand and wish away the ongoing effects of the pandemic and the other life-altering situations I’m facing. But I can start to pay attention to things lovely, life-giving and hopeful.
Here’s what I’m hoping to refocus on, but I really want to know what you’re doing to get your head out of the fog.
I want to focus more on what is beautiful and joyful.
Last night Penny and I stumbled on a funny and touching Netflix movie called Hunt for the Wilderpeople. Such a switch from the numerous British detective shows we’ve watched! We laughed out loud for the first time in months! I need more of that. I’ve taken to having classical music as the audio wallpaper of my office as well. So soothing. And I’m trying to regain my mojo with cooking. For a while there in this never-ending virus season I even got weary doing the thing I love.
I want to re-focus on relationships.
Last night I was talking to an old friend bemoaning how in my isolation I actually became so used to hunkering down that I stopped trying to connect with people. I’m realizing that has to end. And after I get my second Pfizer vaccine this week I intend to be more intentional in connecting and maybe even carefully return to in-person church and meetings. I need my people.
I want to continue to focus on my purpose.
Even I, the destiny guy, have found myself going through the motions of late. Get it done. Do the thing. But last week someone shared with me how the Calling Quilt coaching process I took them through months ago has transformed their outlook on life. They now know their calling and are going after it with abandon! It was like a bucket of cold water on my head. I thought, “You idiot, are you seeing what is happening right in front of you? It’s working!” I need to take joy in doing what I am doing!
So, those are the things I’m going to train my attention on. What’s your muse, your focus of joy?
No, life is certainly not meaningless, despite what the Ecclesiastes guy says. But then again, maybe he knew that already and was just talking to himself…trying, like us, to lift his own heart out of the doldrums. After all, he did say this too:
“God has made everything beautiful for its own time.
He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so,
people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.
So I concluded there is nothing better than to be happy
and enjoy ourselves as long as we can.
And people should eat and drink and enjoy the fruits of their labor,
for these are gifts from God.”