A couple of my more cynical friends have written comments such as these:
“This bickering is pointless.”
“Why do we re-hash the same arguments?”
“I heard these same arguments four years ago. Has nothing changed?”
As we near the end of another presidential election cycle (Thank you, GOD! It is almost over!) I confess to feeling the same way. There is still legislative gridlock. There are people with enormous amounts of money who are buying the airwaves with jacked up claims about the other candidate or the ballot initiative. There are phone calls ad nauseum, filling our voicemail. It used to just be calls every evening from “Rachel from card services” with a fake “lower your credit card interest rate” offer. Now it’s this PAC or that.
Add to the drama are the ads asking “Are you better off than you were four years ago?” (As if the political system would be the reason? How about my own hard work and motivation? The support of my family and my church?)
Somehow, I think we are asking the wrong questions. Or we aren’t looking at common sense answers.
I was reminded of these words from Ecclesiastes 1:
1 The words of the Teacher of the Assembly, David’s son, king in Jerusalem:
2 Perfectly pointless, says the Teacher, perfectly pointless.
Everything is pointless.
3 What do people gain from all the hard work
that they work so hard at under the sun?
4 A generation goes, and a generation comes,
but the earth remains as it always has.
5 The sun rises, the sun sets;
it returns panting to the place where it dawns.
6 The wind blows to the south,
goes around to the north;
around and around blows the wind;
the wind returns to its rounds again.
7 All streams flow to the sea,
but the sea is never full;
to the place where the rivers flow,
there they continue to flow.
8 All words are tiring;
no one is able to speak.
The eye isn’t satisfied with seeing,
neither is the ear filled up by hearing.
9 Whatever has happened—that’s what will happen again;
whatever has occurred—that’s what will occur again.
There’s nothing new under the sun. 10 People may say about something: “Look at this! It’s new!” But it was already around for ages before us. 11 There’s no remembrance of things in the past, nor of things to come in the future. Neither will there be any remembrance among those who come along in the future.
Sometimes these words are read as being cynical and angry, of a person who has given up on God. I see them quite differently.
If we wrap our lives around our sinful, disjointed selves, then yes – life does become “pointless.”
However, if we choose to live past our circumstances, to see the God who brings the sun to rise and set, the winds to rise and fall, the seasons to come and go, then there is hope. There is courage. There is a reason to press on and shine hope, peace and joy in the world.
When I re-read Eccleasiastes over the weekend, it reminded me that I can easily choose the hipster path of cynicism and frustration. Or I can choose to pour life and light into those around me.
This weekend we went to see The Johnnie in a local regatta. I enjoyed time with my husband and daughters. I saw the Creator’s hand in the leaves, the water, the trees, the sunset. I was refreshed and renewed. A day away from media and the hype was a good thing!
Do I still get frustrated with the partisan hacks growling accusations at each other? Most certainly. Do I have a few choice words that I mutter under my breath at a trumped up political ad? Yeah. I’m human.
However, I remember the God of hope. The God of redemption. The God of peace. And I will choose to pitch my tent there.
P.S. A few pictures from our day at the Head of the Occoquan regatta yesterday: