Full disclosure – I originally penned this two years ago. It popped up on my Facebook page this morning. I updated it just a tad.
Yesterday I officiated a Funeral. On the way to the funeral home I stopped and made a visit to pray for a friend who collapsed yesterday morning with a major brain bleed. He passed away late last night.
Whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.
In just ten we leave for Mardi Gras for our annual spree…
There is a reason why we do this each year…
The fickleness of life and the lessening of our days.
Long ago Solomon (considered the wisest man in the world) wrote these words:
There’s a Right Time for Everything
There’s an opportune time to do things, a right time for everything on the earth:
A right time for birth and another for death,
A right time to plant and another to reap,
A right time to kill and another to heal,
A right time to destroy and another to construct,
A right time to cry and another to laugh,
A right time to lament and another to cheer,
A right time to make love and another to abstain,
A right time to embrace and another to part,
A right time to search and another to count your losses,
A right time to hold on and another to let go,
A right time to rip out and another to mend,
A right time to shut up and another to speak up,
A right time to love and another to hate,
A right time to wage war and another to make peace.
But in the end, does it really make a difference what anyone does? I’ve had a good look at what God has given us to do—busywork, mostly. True, God made everything beautiful in itself and in its time—but he’s left us in the dark, so we can never know what God is up to, whether he’s coming or going. I’ve decided that there’s nothing better to do than go ahead and have a good time and get the most we can out of life. That’s it—eat, drink, and make the most of your job. It’s God’s gift.
I’ve also concluded that whatever God does, that’s the way it’s going to be, always. No addition, no subtraction. God’s done it and that’s it. That’s so we’ll quit asking questions and simply worship in holy fear.
Whatever was, is.
Whatever will be, is.
That’s how it always is with God.
Words to ponder and perhaps live by.
Recently I had the unfortunate honor to offer care for a family who lost a loved one to suicide. As is often the case this was an unexpected tragedy. The International Association for Suicide Prevention says worldwide each year almost 800,000 people die from suicide. This exceeds the number of deaths due to homicide and war combined. I find this hard to comprehend.
Later that same day I read these words from Zig Ziglar “Never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life.”
Those words seem prescient for so many today. The never ending news regularly informs (or distresses) us about all things political, economic struggles, employment pressures, the growing gap between the rich and working class, and so on. Bad news gets so overwhelming at times many people actually give up. This week I read of a couple in Utah who actually took their lives and the lives of their children because they believed the world was moving toward disaster and they no longer had any hope. This couple was only in their 30’s, their children ages 11-14. I wondered aloud how things can seem so bleak, yet each day I see folks who struggle with similar darkness, or at least major loss of hope.
Remarkably Henry David Thoreau wrote challenging words about struggle over 100 years ago when he penned Walden and said “Most men live lives of quiet desperation.” Unfortunately as depressing as this sounds, the oft left out second part of this famous quote may be even more disheartening. He goes on to say “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.”
Wow, how encouraging! Ha!
So the question arises: How do we live fully when we are beset by so many issues in our world today, so much difficulty and for some perhaps even a sense of despair?
One of the ways I have found to help deal with the challenges of life is to celebrate more. Growing up In Mobile Alabama and later living in New Orleans; Fat Tuesday and the whole Mardi Gras season were part of my upbringing and cultural heritage. I learned at an early age to enjoy all things from Moon Pies to plastic beads. The celebration and festivity of the season always brought a nice break from the previous winter days. For more than a decade my family and friends have converged together in New Orleans on the weekend before Fat Tuesday to enjoy time celebrating life, laughing with (and sometimes at) each other, and counting our blessings.
I recently saw a YouTube video by ZeFrank where he displays 28, 835 Jelly Beans – each one representing the average number of days of our lives, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. He says “You might have more beans in your life, or maybe less, but on average this is the time we have.”
Then he goes about demonstrating how most of our jelly beans are spent: 8477 for sleeping, 3202 for working, 1635 for eating or drinking, 1,099 spent in a car and even 2676 for watching TV. OUCH!
He goes on until he ends with a few less than 3000. These are the ones we get to do whatever we want with. As for me and my family, our next five beans will be enjoying life at Mardi Gras in New Orleans. My goal is to make Thoreau eat his words – For us there will be no living in Quiet Desperation; there will only be loud shouts of joyful exclamation. And surely we will not be dying with our song unsung; we plan to be singing way too loudly! Thoreau also says “I want to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life.”
Sounds like he knew a thing or two about enjoying each jelly bean…
In the Big Easy they often repeat the phrase: Laissez les bon temps roulez.
Translated this means Let the Good Times Roll
Ray Charles later made it famous with this song.
I encourage you today to:
Happy Mardi Gras!