I am a dead man. Eventually, that is. If you’re very familiar with my blog, you’ll know that the book of Ecclesiastes is my favorite in the Bible. In his old age, King Solomon becomes the grandfather that I never had. One of my grandfathers died before I was born. The other died when I was young. Therefore, Solomon has become both my spirit animal and quasi-granddaddy.
Some of my favorite moments of Solomon’s wisdom writing are his uses of paradoxes. As when he says verses such as:
“The day of death is better than the day of birth”
“You learn more at a funeral than at a feast”
“Sorrow is better than laughter”
“A sad face is good for the heart”
(Verses above from Chapter 7:1-4).
Just those verses alone are enough to make you think King Solomon was in a loony bin. Who in their right mind would say, “Oh yeah, dying is way better than being born!”
However, looking deeper we will see that Solomon is saying that it is beneficial to look at our own lives and be introspective by paying attention with where we stand with God and with our life. He is saying that it gets tougher to do so when you’re laughing at a party or stuffing your face with a delicious food. Solomon, who loves to host parties with thousands of people and eat giant feasts (1 Kings 4), is claiming that in those joyous times….no one at that moment thinks deeply about their life. He and us are too busy laughing and having a good time. King Solomon is saying that times of sorrow are better because they make you think. They will slow you down and sometimes being slowed down in such a fast-paced world is a good thing. A funeral makes you realize that your day is coming sooner than you realize.
I have been to about 12 weddings in the past 3 years and I never had a moment when I thought about the deep parts of my soul. It is at the funerals where I stopped and became honest with myself. See I could be wrong, but people don’t usually question life during a Super Bowl party. On the other hand, anytime there is a terrorist bombing or natural disaster, people then realize how precious their time on earth is. It is in the deserts when we realize we need God. Maybe Solomon and the Word know a little something.
As Matt Chandler put it, “birth” is about the potential of what can be done. For the Christian, “death” is about the fulfillment of ALL that Christ had planned for us here on earth. It is finished and now it is finally time for the Promised Land.
But wouldn’t I be upset if I died so young? What about getting married with a family and kids? Wouldn’t I be sad to miss Kobe Bryant make an NBA comeback at the age of 42? Don’t I want to one day see N’Sync perform their 30-year reunion tour? Well yes, I would absolutely love to experience all of that. Still, when compared to the glory of Christ, none of that matters. Any other elevated view is idolatry.
By faith, if I were to suddenly die today, no worries. I have had a life lived well. The opportunity of life given to me was a glorious gift in itself. But on top of that, let’s forget about focusing on what we didn’t get to do. How about what we DID get to do?! Here is a snippet of an ongoing list I have that, if I died, can be read at my funeral. Anytime something stirs my soul I try to add something to it. Especially the little things.
So if I die, don’t cry for me.
Don’t cry for me:
– I have laughed until my abs started hurting and I started crying.
– I have already made my family proud.
– I have eaten enough potato chips to feed a small country. Seriously.
– My eldest nephew has cried every time I’ve left his house. So he’s cried for me enough. He has taught me unconditional love better than anyone else in this world. And for that lesson, I owe him more than I can ever repay.
– I have seen people worship the Lord and get saved.
– I have seen someone get prayed over and healed before my very eyes.
– I have been in fist fights and won.
– I have been in fist fights and lost. And learned from them.
– I have watched some beautiful YouTube videos and cried my eyes out with joy.
– I got over my fear of dogs….just to impress a girl. But I got over the fear, nonetheless.
– I have been dancing a few times until my legs went numb. And I danced some more.
– I have made friends that I can call family.
– I have been to Vegas and won $128 on the first night.
– I watched the Notebook movie over 60 times.
– I have won a sports championship. Softball. Twice baby!
– I have traveled.
– My mom and dad have become more than just my parents.
– Twice, I have been loudly cheered for onstage in front of hundreds of people for poetry.
– I have been booed offstage in front of hundreds of people doing poetry. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Not even getting cheered again.
– I have seen all the Harry Potter movies.
– I have intellectually debated atheists for the faith and not backed down.
– I have discipled and seen.
– I have read a good book.
– I have been to some extremely hippie towns and had a great time.
– I have been involved in 11 car accidents and lived.
– I have witnessed people truly love on one another.
-Some of my favorite memories were playing baseball for hours in the back yard with my brothers.
– I have played soccer in the front yard for hours with my little nephews. Or at least, the odd variation of the game they call soccer.
– I have had times of doing absolutely nothing during hangouts with friends and had a blast.
-I did a summer internship in Vicksburg, MS and….well actually you can cry for me about that. Good gosh that was a very boring time!
– I spent some amazing summers at Clemson University.
– Don’t cry for me…Jesus Christ saved me. I am dining with Him now.
– Don’t cry for me….I am home sweet home.