“In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on.” ― Robert Frost
“To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.” ― Oscar Wilde
“I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.” ― Douglas Adams, The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul
A Necessary Reminder
When we take a look at some of the things life has to offer, the conclusion concerning the matter of our choices and decisions comes to light. What more can one do in the ring with right and wrong, good and bad, success and failure, opportunities and misfortunes, joy and sadness, prosperity and poverty, and wisdom and foolishness, just to name a few? All this and more centres around one thing: Management.
Management of time. Management of responsibilities. Management of knowledge. Whether or not these things happen is not the question, but rather what we do with the hand that has been dealt. I love what someone said: There are three kinds of people in this world, those who watch what happens, those who make things happen, and those who wonder, “what happened?”
There is one overlooked factor of life that must be frequently made conscious of, that is the rival: Death. A comment from Bible.org puts it this way:
Death is one of those subjects we don’t like to discuss. That’s why it’s a subject of so many euphemisms. Instead of using the word dead, we say, “passed away,” “returned home,” “gone to a better place,” “sleeping in Jesus,” or “went to be with the Lord.” At least we use those terms around the church and the funeral home. In less guarded moments, we speak of “taking a dirt nap,” “kicking the bucket,” “buying the farm,” “cashing in the chips,” “biting the dust,” or the ever-popular “croaked.” Whether we lean to the reverent right or the flippant left, we shy away from speaking directly of the ultimate enemy
A Harsh Shove
Solomon attempted to analyze death in light of God’s role with humankind, and the impact it has in our lives, especially as it pertains to the difference between existing and living. Some of the things he noted are:
Death is certain. As uncomfortable as it may be to mention or talk about, the reality is its inevitability. A very chilling thought indeed! Solomon saw that there is no one exempt from it, regardless of financial status, social influence, vocational position or anything else, one thing was true of anyone and everyone: one day there will be a complete biological shutdown (is that not a neat euphemism)?
In Ecclesiastes 9:2-4, Solomon does a lot of comparison between great and small things and creatures in the earth, chiefly focusing on dogs. In his day they were loathed, diseased and filthy animals. His unique selling point: a live dog is better than a dead lion. This illustrates that the living will come to terms with the brutality of death and thus value everything life has to offer, including the seemingly insignificant things.
Life is uncertain. In contrast to the first point and contrary to what most may believe, life is not all buns and roses filled with nothing but guarantees! The human life expectancy is supposed to be 120 years in general (Gen 6:3), but thanks to pollution of all kinds, among other things, that has depleted over the years.
As far as Solomon in Ecclesiastes 9:7-12 is concerned, the finer things in life come down to our function, rather than chasing fleeting pleasures and fading fantasies. One will never know when their time may come, therefore maximizing every day to the best of our abilities includes these 3 factors:
i) Eat and drink with cheerfulness. Life is short, and to grasp as much of it as you can, party away. Enjoy the best of it, filling your heart with laughter, and your mind with memories. While you are at it, eat healthy and workout often.
ii) Enjoy your spouse while you can. The world has done quite a number on the beauty of love expressed within the union of marriage. The truth is it’s enviable, to the extent that one should seek it out and treasure it. Spouses must work through their relationship with the mindset of continual development, and avoid complacency regardless of marriage length.
iii) Get work done. In this department, to give those who have a glass-half-empty outlook regarding the job they don’t like, having to imagine walking in the shoes of those who struggle to find jobs should bring their own circumstance to perspective. Punctuality is a huge indicator of work ethic and must be taken seriously.
Whether meeting deadlines, doing admin, overseeing or managing projects and/or people, doing damage control with clients and customers, and communicating payments, know that these positive and negative experiences are what some can only dream of having.
Love your work, whether you own a business, are an employee, self-employed or an investor. Find something in your work you love and create opportunities to experience it repeatedly. Increase the value of your workplace, so that you can increase your value in it.
I am of the greatest opinion that those who have reached the top their game, serve as role models for the rest of us in various industries. The department in which one works is not important, but the benefit to both the recipient (client/company) and the provider. Death brings a painful reminder that not everyone lives to fight another day. It must be faced with praise to the Lord in both good and bad times (Psalm 34:1) and planning for tomorrow while living for today (Matt 6:34; Proverbs 27:1).