Posts Tagged ‘Ecclesiastes’

Last week I published a post called Tricks and Old Dogs. In it I wrote of my love of talking, and of a recent realization that when I felt as though I was not being listened to, I stopped talking, I stopped communicating. I also wrote of how I was planning on working on that personal response from a self-improvement context.

Since then I have encountered a certain passage in the Bible … twice, and I am starting to think that there is something in it for me.

The day after publishing that post, I read a post of a fellow blogger, which featured Ecclesiastes 3:1-15 (he is a great writer and thinker, and his posts are worth checking out). The blogger focused on how the scripture emphasized the need and reliance for balance. That the reality of the seasons of the year, and of life required a concentration of the balance that they provide in our existence.

For instance seeds are planted in the spring, and the harvest is gathered in the autumn, because that is what makes for the best growth of plants. We can laugh anytime, but to laugh after a season of weeping makes the laughing all the sweeter.

Then, at our staff devotions, a teacher read the same scripture. This time, as it was being read, I ‘heard’ the message that was in it for me. Verse 7 states, “(there is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:) a time to be silent and a time to speak.” When the words settled in my ears, I realized that maybe I had been silent for a reason that came, not from weakness, but from a holy, seasonal balance. Maybe this was my time to be silent?

When I came home I did my research. I discovered that the verse from Ecclesiastes was cross referenced to:
Amos 5:13, “therefore the prudent keep quiet in such times”
Job 34:29, “but if he remains silent, who can condemn him?”

Maybe, just maybe, my silence was not simply born out of weakness, nor the result of inappropriate responding to individuals or situations. Maybe, my tongue has been silenced because it is not my season to speak? Maybe, at this time, saying nothing is the healthiest, the most wise route to take? Maybe keeping quiet at this time is not about forfeiting my ability to express myself, but about taking the time to listen, and providing the opportunities for others to practice a season of speaking? Maybe, my silence is a holy protection, that I need to embrace, and not fight against?

I am still determined to learn through this experience. I just might try learning from the silence.

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Spring in our house means one constant, consistent thing … pool repairs!

This is our ninth spring in this house, and every year we attempt to open our in ground pool only to discover that another something needs to be replaced, fixed or upgraded … and I begin to contemplate moving … to a home without a pool.

Oh, I know, after the broken parts have been fixed, after the chemicals have done their miracle and changed the waters color (like a mood ring), when the heat of July and August arrives, I will be diving into that pool with great thanks that we live where we do. For now, I anticipate yet another bill, and wonder just how many hours I have to work to pay it off.

If you have been to our home for a cool dip on a hot day, you might not believe my reference to cesspool. Check out the photo to the right … This dastardly pool not only had a part on the pump that needed to be replaced, but it currently more closely resembles the swamp outside of Shrek’s home than a refreshing, crystal clear place of recreation and rest.

This is the way of owning things … they end up owning us.

I remember, years ago, Bill Cosby had a comic sketch about our ‘stuff’, and how it leads to needing places to store our ‘stuff,’ and how we need to get insurance for our ‘stuff’ in case something happens to our ‘stuff’, and on and on. I now am starting to understand what he was talking about.

Most days I feel as though I am owned by my ‘stuff’ and it is controlling every important decision that I have to make.

If we own a vehicle, we need to maintain it, repair it, protect it. All of that takes time and money.

If we own a home, we also need to maintain it, repair it, protect it. All of that takes time and money too.

So then we need to work more (our time) to make enough money to cover the costs of the ‘privilege’ of having ‘stuff’, and we need to use our ‘free’ time to look after this ‘stuff’ (I personally spent over eleven hours, on a delightfully sunny Saturday, working on our yard and pool ‘stuff’).

In the meantime, as we work to pay for, and work to maintain what we have, we need to remember that our ‘stuff” is not as valuable as the people in our lives. In the spring, we slave for as many hours a week as we work our jobs, to maintain the home and pool that we have so that our children can enjoy these things, and so that we can enjoy our time with our kids … in the summer. All the while, we are presently not with our kids.

I wonder what they would choose? Would they choose big yard and pool over time with mom and dad on a more consistent basis?

It makes me wonder … is it worth it?

Even in the Bible, in Ecclesiastes, it says, “all things are permissible.

It also says, “but not all things are beneficial.”

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As I read the email my hubby forwarded, the words restricted access popped from the computer screen. Written by the gentle, kind-hearted wife of a man lying in a hospital bed. His not long enough earthly life now down to days. And access to his hospital room has now been restricted to family only.

At the end of life, the most important in life rise to the surface. It is the most important people in life who, ideally, we would choose to pass from this life close by our side.

“Meaningless, meaningless … ” I have been hearing this a significant amount as I have sat in a grade eleven Bible class (I work in a Christian school), who has been studying the book of Ecclesiastes. “Everything is meaningless … ” Throughout the first part of this book, everything is meaningless; work, study, pleasures, power, riches.

And, the family who is gathered around the husband and father of the man in the restricted access hospital room would say, ‘amen!’

When our earthly life comes to it’s end, the things that occupied much of our life and source of existence fade away, they become as dust or smoke. Something that fades from our minds faster than life itself. Ecclesiastes 1:3 states, “what’s there to show for a lifetime of work, a lifetime of working your fingers to the bone?” Once you are passing from this life to the next, what we have accomplished on this earth becomes … meaningless.

And what becomes meaningful?

I cannot answer that for another person. I do know that I have never heard of someone’s boss, or banker, or realtor being at their bedside as they take their last breath. They are restricted from access. Who are there, are the ones who made life … meaningful.

“Life, lovely while it lasts, is soon over.
Life as we know it, precious and beautiful, ends.
The body is put back in the same ground it came from.
The spirit returns to God, who first breathed it.”

Ecclesiastes 12:6-7

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