I once wrote that I wouldn’t want to take a pill of eternal youth if none of my loved ones were not given the same opportunity. I wouldn’t cope with knowing and having experienced far more than my friends. I wouldn’t want to be seen like a wise ass who would give random pearls of wisdom or retort to any stories with utterances such as “Yup, I’ve done that”, “Ten year ago, I …”, or even “When I was at your age …”.
Living and interacting with people who are in their early stages in their career and life also means that I have a foretaste of this possibility. At church I am surrounded by twenty-somethings who are faced with the difficulty of finding work or deciding what to do once they finish their degree. At work, I am also rubbing shoulders with those who are bright and ambitious with the energy far exceeding my current level.
Does that mean that I prefer to hang around with those of my own age who have mellowed down with time and got on with family life?
I don’t know the answer to that question really – being with those who are young continues to rejuvenate me. It was only yesterday that I was told that I still looked like a 25-year old guy. He probably picked an age far beyond his own that seemed “old”. 🙂 On the flipside, as I get on with life, ponder more and evaluate more, I see the senseless unbearable lightness of life. There are those who see life as a big series of flirting, drinking, and parties. However, who am I to judge, eh? It fits with the contemporary tenet of “If it makes me happy and does not harm those around me, why should you care?”.
Maybe I shouldn’t be so uptight about things. It’s just the weight that comes with age. I’ve done it all. I’ve experienced it. Although I can act twenty-two, my mind couldn’t fool me … I have already amassed a great deal of knowledge and experience. On the other hand, I can’t expect my friends to think or behave like me – they need to discover the lessons that they need to learn themselves. All in due time.
It’s only in this situation that keeps me holding on to that sliver of hope – that there is a purpose and meaning in this seemingly pointless mish-mash soup called life. Consider this wisdom written in Ecclesiastes 1:2-8 (NLT) “Everything is meaningless,” says the Teacher, “completely meaningless!” What do people get for all their hard work under the sun? Generations come and generations go, but the earth never changes. The sun rises and the sun sets, then hurries around to rise again. The wind blows south, and then turns north. Around and around it goes, blowing in circles. Rivers run into the sea, but the sea is never full. Then the water returns again to the rivers and flows out again to the sea. Everything is wearisome beyond description. No matter how much we see, we are never satisfied. No matter how much we hear, we are not content.” The same book is closed by this memorable passage:
Don’t let the excitement of youth cause you to forget your Creator. Honor him in your youth before you grow old and say, “Life is not pleasant anymore.” Remember him before the light of the sun, moon, and stars is dim to your old eyes, and rain clouds continually darken your sky. Remember him before your legs – the guards of your house – start to tremble; and before your shoulders – the strong men – stoop. Remember him before your teeth – your few remaining servants – stop grinding; and before your eyes – the women looking through the windows – see dimly.
Remember him before the door to life’s opportunities is closed and the sound of work fades. Now you rise at the first chirping of the birds, but then all their sounds will grow faint.
Remember him before you become fearful of falling and worry about danger in the streets; before your hair turns white like an almond tree in bloom, and you drag along without energy like a dying grasshopper, and the caperberry no longer inspires sexual desire. Remember him before you near the grave, your everlasting home, when the mourners will weep at your funeral.
Yes, remember your Creator now while you are young, before the silver cord of life snaps and the golden bowl is broken. Don’t wait until the water jar is smashed at the spring and the pulley is broken at the well. For then the dust will return to the earth, and the spirit will return to God who gave it.
Concluding Thoughts about the Teacher
“Everything is meaningless,” says the Teacher, “completely meaningless.”
Keep this in mind: The Teacher was considered wise, and he taught the people everything he knew. He listened carefully to many proverbs, studying and classifying them. The Teacher sought to find just the right words to express truths clearly.
The words of the wise are like cattle prods – painful but helpful. Their collected sayings are like a nail-studded stick with which a shepherd drives the sheep.
But, my child, let me give you some further advice: Be careful, for writing books is endless, and much study wears you out.
That’s the whole story. Here now is my final conclusion: Fear God and obey his commands, for this is everyone’s duty. God will judge us for everything we do, including every secret thing, whether good or bad.