A few weeks ago, there was a snowstorm… a big storm. Shoveling and snow blowing was a daily activity for a few days. As I snow blowed two feet of snow amidst an ongoing snowstorm, it was hard not to have that Ecclesiastes feeling of meaningless, it’s all meaningless; because I knew that I would have to be back out here shoveling again the next day. At the same time, I knew that it was much easier to shovel 2 feet of fresh snow than 2 feet of wet compacted snow; so I thought meaningful…it’s meaningful.
Meaningless or meaningful.
Sometimes I feel like that line is a very thin line to walk, but there is a lot of weight behind which view we take.
This morning was one of those “wide awake at 3:00 am” mornings. The initial hour was somewhat frustrating as I wanted to sleep, but my body and mind would not let me; meaningless. As 4:00 rolled around, I decided that it is a gift to feel this awake. I have three hours until I have to go to work and endless possibilities. Prayer, exercise, coffee, breakfast, writing, reading, and still be able to hang out with the kids before I leave; meaningful.
The book of Ecclesiastes in the Bible is a good read if you haven’t read it before. Hopeless ravings of a mad man sprinkled with beautiful tidbits of hope. I love Ecclesiastes because it’s honest. Who of us hasn’t struggled with the search for meaning amidst the mundane? Even in the most wonderful of circumstances, there is the search for purpose.
So back to the snow. Meaningless means I toss that shovel across the yard as I see no point in my toil, and deal with a slick icy tundra that I would call a driveway for the foreseeable future. Defeat.
Meaningful means I blast “Evil Empire” by Rage against the Machine in my headphones and snowblow for an hour so we can actually safely enter and exit our driveway. By the time “Year of the Boomerang” has finished, I think I might as well get the neighbor’s sidewalk as well. Impact.
“What does the worker gain from his toil? I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God. I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that people will fear him.” Ecclesiastes 3:9-14
This is just one example of Soloman’s rants, good stuff.
Let’s look for meaning in the most meaningless circumstances.