"He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose." ~Jim Elliot

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Friday, September 6, 2013

Life is purposeless, and the only thing that can give life purpose is the thing that defeats death.

West Poinsettia Drive is about to sleep - even on this Friday night. All that remains is a few late partying people and some nostalgic streetlights. It is 11:04 and the Ross house is in utter silence. Only one young person's sporadic typing on a small laptop accounts for the sound inside. There may be a cricket or two out back next to the pool.

I have just returned home from a neighborhood Kohl's and Wendy's trip - those are great places to have next door, by the way. It is a somber night. Strolling through clearance aisles leads me to wonder why I even want things. Am I enjoying God's gifts through prayer or am I hoarding them through selfishness? Yet another broken cistern.

Today was crappy. I don't say that word much, but it has come to my mind more recently than in the past. After all, dropping five pounds of one of your store's most expensive products (that was a few days ago) isn't exactly a great thing for your inventory. Were I at my job for hours and money only, it wouldn't be much of a problem I suppose. But manager's are entitled to care.

Downtown Phoenix is a beautiful sight; it certainly was on the way to Mesa this afternoon. What an enormous, spread out city. There are so many people and buildings; I love that sight; I love the sounds. Well, kind of. The beauty of it all is minimized when there is a long drive home and miles of traffic backed up on I-10. How many people did I cut off today?

And as long as I'm writing obituary-like blog posts, why was I stretching pizzas for two hours in a store I don't even work at?

Okay, I'll settle down now, for myself at least. What is the perspective I have gained from living through the past two weeks? There is one simple answer, and I am more than happy to share my wisdom with the people who may read this blog: life is stupid. It's pointless. We live, then we die, and we might get a good haircut somewhere in between. People cut you off in traffic, cats pee on the carpet, and occasionally your fifth grade teach points her long bony finger up in the air.

The teenager working the drive-through at Wendy's accidentally rang up the wrong order for me: I ordered a large Frosty shake, but he made a large Frosty. To remedy the situation, he gave me the Frosty free and made me a shake for the price of the Frosty (which is about $1.70 cheaper). Yay! I get more ice cream! That could almost make life worth it. But not quite.

No, indeed, for tomorrow I'll be hungry again. And who knows what I'll try to stuff my stomach with! How many shirts will I have to buy to be happy? Even if work had gone well, would I really be content making my hourly wage? Even if I do - by some miracle - make it through college, what good will a piece of paper do me in life? A bigger job? Great. More money. More ice cream. More constipation. What good will it do me in death?

Life is depressing for the very reason of difficulty then death. Life happens like this: you're born cold and naked, you hit puberty, you're a broke college student, you get hitched and have two too many kids to handle, you retire to Florida (or Phoenix!), and you have kidney stones or prostate cancer or some other old peoples' awkward disease. And to top it all off you die. That, my friends, is why life is a dumpster.

The words of Solomon reincarnated - since there is nothing new under the sun and all is vanity and everything is in vain - are ended.

Now we have destroyed all meaning and purpose. We have blown all of life to bits. So what is it that rises from the ashes when everything else is dead? What is left when all other things are gone? What is true when everything else has been found a lie? What is real when everything else is fake? What is filling when everything leaves me empty?

What lives beyond this shattered, horrible life? What will kill death?

Solus Christus.

"Amor vincit omnia et nos cedamus amori."

By grace we have something. We have something more. So let us too be conquered by the conqueror. And when He has slain us all to shattered bits let us rise on the third day with Him and outlive everything that comes in our way, all that tries to harm us; for we are more than conquerors through Him who loves us.

("Crown Him the Lord of Life  
Who triumphed o'er the grave 
And rose victorious in the strife 
For those He came to save. 
His glories now we sing 
Who died and rose on high, 
Who died eternal life to bring 
And lives that death may die.")

And He who loves us is the meaning of life because, and only because, His love is better than life.

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