Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…
“I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and indeed, all is vanity and grasping for the wind…I made my works great, built myself houses…gardens and orchards…I also gathered for myself silver and gold…I became great and excelled more than all who were before me…
I have no pleasure in them…Vanity of vanities…all is vanity.”
Ecclesiastes, Chapters 1-12 (NKJV)
Quietly now, let her sleep. She was up late last night with the adrenaline of anticipation of this day—today—coursing through heavy flickering eyelids.
Today she turns thirteen. Where have the years gone?
Quietly now—I must check my own enthusiasm—as I sit here remembering the day our precious Granddaughter Hannah was born those thirteen years ago.
You remember those certain days in your life and the life of your family, don’t you? Those days which are indelibly etched with fondness, as we remember the expression on our son Nathan’s face, as well as where he was standing, as he found us in the waiting room, and exactly what he said to first introduce his new gift to us moments after her physical birth…
“The doctor is cleaning up my two girls!”
Every moment since then has been woven into a collage of memories. Some of those moments her Mimi and I witnessed first-hand; some—coupled with a measure of regret for not being there—were reported to us by her parents and her—every spurt in her growth, or softly-falling tears from a sensitive heart, and heart-melting smiles from her trusting soul, tiny step-after-step toward a relationship with the loving God Who created her, or an excited shriek as a new revelation of God’s creation embraced her sense of wonder.
Thirteen years and I can’t help but wonder how they could have flown past so quickly. Have we done all we could do to embrace every moment of her life? Is there anything we can learn from these last thirteen years to help us make the next even more memorable?
We have given Solomon a lot of credit for being wise, wealthy, and intelligent, for building the temple and ruling Israel well during forty years of peace, but it wasn’t until the end of his life that he really understood the priorities God had placed on his life. it wasn’t until the end of his life that he realized that life wasn’t about priorities rooted in “things”, but instead it was about those moments with God and with those whom He placed in our lives to love—family and friends—and the difference He has called us to make in their lives.
Near the end of a life—which the world viewed as successful—Solomon put it this way:
“I have seen all the works which have been done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and striving after wind.
“For what does a man get in all his labor and his striving with which he labors under the sun? What advantage does man have in all his work which he does under the sun?
I have seen all the works which have been done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and striving after wind.
Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.”
Solomon said it was all “striving after wind” to live life “under the sun”. He clearly tells us, from his own experience—sadly at the end of his life—that a life “under the sun”, that is, a life rooted solely in worldly values and riches, is “vanity”, it is empty—there is nothing to it—meaningless, it is not worth it, it will not satisfy.
Yet as Solomon’s life nears the end—and yet not too late—he is not wishing for more “things”—but instead he shares this wisdom for all the ages which will follow:
“Remember also your Creator…before the sun, the light, the moon and the stars are darkened, and the clouds return after the rain…fear God and keep His commandments.”
Solomon’s answer to a meaningful, fulfilling life is God, and to seek a life “above the sun” that is rooted in a relationship with the God Who created us and with those whom God has placed in our lives.
But it took him to the end of his life to learn that lesson. An otherwise “successful looking” life from the world’s viewpoint, that by his own admission labored short of the mark. And in that, he no doubt missed opportunity after opportunity to make a difference and have a life-changing impact on the lives of many around him, as well as on his own life.
What about us? Which will be the path of your life and mine for the rest of our lives? A pathway on which we seek things, accolades, acknowledgements, and awards? Or a pathway which will reflect lives lived striving after God and striving to add value to the precious lives all around us? A pathway where we never miss a chance to say “I love you” to someone dear—and before they are gone? Or a different pathway?
On our last day on earth, which pathway will have brought us more satisfaction and a sense of fulfillment? Follow that pathway—beginning today and every day thereafter.
The memories of the journey of these last thirteen years with our precious Granddaughter Hannah are vivid—as are the occasional gaps. I pray the next thirteen years, and thirteen after that, will be flooded with even more memories—and fewer and fewer gaps—in our journey with her precious life.
I pray the same for each of you in the midst of all those important priorities and people in your life.
Just something for us to think about today—near or not near—the end of our lives.
Oh, and by the way—Happy Birthday precious girl! Happy Birthday!
In His Name—Gran (Scott)
Copyright 2012. Scott L. Whitaker. All rights reserved.