The Sunday just a few days before Christmas I attended the funeral of a lady from my church who had been suffering from cancer for years. She was survived by a son who is about twenty one, and another who will graduate high school in May.
The next weekend, I was playing and singing at the funeral of Cole's great-grandmother. We had just spent Christmas together and she seemed fine, two days later we were rushing to the hospital to hold her hand as she drew her last breaths.
A few days later, at four o'clock on New Year's morning, a man from our church accidentally shot and killed his wife mistaking her for an intruder. Very few couple's love for each other is more evident than theirs was. The wide range of emotions, the questions...
Three weekends. Three funerals. By the time I got home from the most recent funeral on Saturday, I literally had no more nice black clothes in my closet and was completely emotionally drained.
It seems like over and over I post about the brevity of life, but over and over it is impressed on me.
Cole and I started reading Don't Waste Your Life by John Piper today. I read it a couple of years ago, but the more I live, the more I realize I don't have forever. Life is so short. Who knows the number of years allotted to them? Who knows if they will have the next breath?
A few months ago I had a very morbid thought. I was sitting in the fellowship hall at our church looking out at the people when it occurred to me: In one hundred years, we will all be gone. I looked at Sam, I looked at Cole, I looked at my sister, I looked at my friends. All of us, in not to long a time compared to history, will die.
I look at the people that I love, the things that I do, everything that seems so important to me and realize that it will pass away.
When I think of these things I find myself identifying with Solomon in Ecclesiastics 9:
5 For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing; they have no further reward, and even the memory of them is forgotten. 6 Their love, their hate and their jealousy have long since vanished; never again will they have a part in anything that happens under the sun.
There is a sense in which our legacy will hopefully live on, but there is another aspect that two hundred years from now, the world will be populated with completely new people. People who never knew me and who never knew you. "What's the point? We live, we work, we love, we die. Meaningless!"
But it doesn't end there. The last few verses of the book tell us to live our short, seemingly meaningless life to the fullest
7 Go, eat your food with gladness, and drink your wine with a joyful heart, for it is now that God favors what you do. 8 Always be clothed in white, and always anoint your head with oil. 9 Enjoy life with your wife, whom you love, all the days of this meaningless life that God has given you under the sun--all your meaningless days. For this is your lot in life and in your toilsome labor under the sun. 10 Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the grave, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom.
Though after weeks like I've had recently I get frustrated with the very concept of existence, I know there is a point to life. I know there is a reason for existence.
"What is the chief end of man?" The Westminster Catechism asks.
The response sounds simple, but it's so true and so hard to keep focused on:
"To glorify God and enjoy Him forever."
With every breath, with every action, with every word. Glorify God.