What is the meaning of life in the fast lane?

| July 17, 2015 | 0 Comments


Chaplain (Capt.) L. Clifton Edwards, Ph.D.
303rd Explosive Ordnance Battalion
8th Military Police Brigade
8th Theater Sustainment Command

I wonder how many people (besides me) think about the pace of life.

Traffic and smart phones are the pacesetters for our lives.

Speed and technology are wonderful, especially when they save life or improve its quality. But there is a price, with more demands placed upon us and an ever-increasing pace of life. Yet, certainly, speed is wonderful if you’re headed to the hospital.

As everyday life thumps along at such a pace, shouldn’t we ask, “Where are we headed?”

The good life, that’s what we’re after, isn’t it? Why else would we reassure ourselves with T-shirts and bumper stickers that, indeed, “Life is Good?”

Maybe we’re headed toward retirement. Of course, we’re not so shallow as to pursue wealth, just financial security, so we can enjoy ourselves, watch our kids grow up and make sure we’ve for provided them.

We’re after that elusive state called happiness. It’s elusive because it always seems to await us in the near future. But we never quite seem to experience it as fully as we’d like in the present.

About 3,000 years ago, King Solomon of Israel wrote about the good life, and he really is the authority on the subject, because he had it all – not just the bling, the Benz and the babes. In addition to his wealth, power and pleasures, he had wisdom, international acclaim and meaningful and kingly projects … a legacy.

So, what did he, who had the good life par excellence, conclude about the good life? Remarkably, he said it was meaningless, a “chasing after the wind.”

Why? Probably because of aging and the approach of death that came to him and come to us all. And with the realization of our mortality we must ask, with Solomon, what is there to show for even the fullest life?

Perhaps we can live vicariously through our offspring and enjoy life through their eyes. However, our children are soon to be stuck in the same race trying to reach the good life and too busy to find happiness in the present.

Can we successfully ignore the future (I mean the ultimate future beyond our own lifespan) enough to truly enjoy the present? Besides, we can’t fully ensure the good life against cancer, birth defects, auto accidents, failed relationships and natural disasters. Once we reach the good life, there is no guarantee that it won’t be destroyed by tragedy. And if we do reach it, and by chance maintain it, will we really be happy then?

Or would we arrive at Solomon’s conclusion? How many celebrities, CEOs and other “good-lifers” have arrived at his conclusion?

Maybe we are chasing after the wind. But maybe I’m the only one who thinks this way, and you can write me off as a cynic.

Maybe you’ve found the good life or soon will.

I agree with scientist and philosopher Blaise Pascal that human beings are at the same time the most magnificent and the most miserable of all creatures. We busy ourselves in the trivialities of pleasure and entertainment only to escape our deeper unsettledness: We are not quite at home in the world.

Perhaps this is just the blind fate of our evolutionary ancestry. If our deepest desires are never satisfied in this world, what if we were, in fact, made for another world? We should at least consider this possibility, lest we head toward false destinations.

We should take time, that most precious commodity, to re-evaluate our course in light of an eternal meaning and destiny.

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Category: Footsteps in Faith, News

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