August 25, 2021 - Is That All There Is?
"'Meaningless! Meaningless!' says the Teacher. 'Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless." (Ecclesiastes 1:2)
I was reminded of an old Peggy Lee song as I was reading the above scripture: Is That All There Is?
Chorus: "Is that all there is? Is that all there is?
If that's all there is my friends, then let's keep dancing.
Let's break out the booze and have a ball.
If that's all there is."
Last verse: "I know what you must be saying to yourselves
If that's the way she feels about it why doesn't she just end it all?
Oh no, not me. I'm not ready for that final disappointment.
Because I know just as sure as I'm standing here talking to you
That when that final moment comes and
I'm breathing my last breath,
I'll be saying to myself, 'Is that all there is?'"
It's a great song. But it is a very sad song, a hopeless song. And it reflects the universal sentiment of meaningless and a sense of the absurdity of life that many have at present.
We exist. And then we don't. The product of the evolutionary teaching of man. We are stuff, a product, material in a consumeristic world, a pawn in whatever political games that are being played. Heroes one day; villains the next. Essential one day; expendable the next. Who can make sense of it all?
It's why the suicide rate over the last year and half has been exponentially higher. It's why spousal and child abuse is at an all time high. Alcohol. Drugs. Gun violence. Why not just be done with it all?
I would like to say, "No, Peggy. That's not all there is." But...perhaps for the type of person the song is singing about...it is. Life lived without purpose. Life not lived for the greater eternal good. Not realizing that there is an eternity. Sad. But an opportunity.
The opportunity is to teach people to live with life's paradoxes. In the midst of the upheaval of life we can still find things to enjoy, to give thanks for, to celebrate. Joy is often found in the simple and the taken for granted.
In the mist of the temporary, we need to remind each other of the present value of people we love and who love us. In this temporary world, we need to point people to Jesus, to the Way, to the Truth, to the...Life...abundant here and eternal there.
If we live like this, our last breath won't be a disappointment, Peggy.
Forget the booze but I'm gonna dance with the wife, love on my kids and grandkids, love and serve my Lord and church family, enjoy the cardinals on my back deck, visit with my neighbor, Ron (who knows all things neighbory), take a walk down by the river, and have a ball.
What a great life...if that's all there is.