As i continue on the road…a road that is mostly hidden and not well-defined, i experience moments of despair, flashes of hopeless, and a great deal of loneliness.
Tonight i went to the fall concert at my daughters school. It was there that i started to think.
The first thought i had came to mind as i listened to one of the school bands play. There were quite a few different instruments, Some had large roles, some small, but each, when following the conductor, fit in perfectly with the other instruments, and the result was the creation of soothing or upbeat melodies. Then the thought struck. What if there was a church were the “instruments” didn’t worry about what the other “instruments” looked like or sounded like but each “instrument” focused on following the conductor? The result would be a place where the melodious sound of beauty and grace exuded and people sitting around watching the church would be blessed. What if there was a church like that?
The second thought, and a more ominous one washed over me while listening to a song one of the choir’s sang. What if i have wasted my life? i am 51 and i look at my past and realize that it is no different that the billions of people who have gone before me. i look at what i have added to the world and realize that there is nothing of significance. Let me be clear here, i am not trying to make a name for myself, i do not care about that, it just feels at times so pointless, so futile, so empty. How has God touched someone in the world through me? Does my life matter? Is Christianity, just a religion, like all other religion created just to give us some sort of hope in a future so that we can just trudge through this life dreaming of a bettter afterlife?
I remember a while back walking through the cemetery behind my house looking at headstones. It probably wasn’t a good day to do this, dark clouds hanging heavily in the sky, the ground frozen and hard underneath my feet, the cold winter wind blowing through the leafless dormant trees. Each stone had a name, some had a picture, most of them had two dates, birth and death. Some lived a few months, some a few years, some a very long time. Yet now they were all here and a stone was all that marked their lives.
I tried to imagine what they may have died from, how that impacted the families. I tried to think about families saying they will never forget, yet by the look of some of the stones, they had been forgotten and all that was left was a cold grey stone forever speaking out their name to an empty graveyard. Great grief overcame me that day, and a fear that the only thing left after i die is a two sentence obituary and crooked headstone.
I know, morbid thoughts…but don’t you think that there should be more significance to life? That we were created to achieve great things? That thought burns in my heart every day, that there should be more, and life should be more amazing different from what we exist in. I despise the idea of living to an old age and then just sitting in a rocker in plaid pants pulled up to my chest, or puttering around in the garden, or going to the senior citizen center every day for a lunch and game of cards. For me that would not be living, but rather merely existing. I want to live.
Perhaps this ideal that i have for myself to really live is just that, an ideal, something unattainable. Maybe i have to be “realistic” like many people tell me.
Perhaps the ideal of church described in my last blog is just that too and the church is just supposed to exist in its tradition. Maybe i need to let go of the ideal and be realistic when it comes to church.
4 thoughts on “Day 52 on the journey”
mark you have not wasted your life,you have achived alot .you have made your wife very happy over 30 yrs,you and soni raised three great kids,and now a beautiful granddaughter.and the rocking chair how great it will be to rock autumn tell her storys about your family and about Jesus.think of all the peoples lives you touched and if you cant think of any think of ME.oh the graves there just to look at remembering people is whats in your heart.your smiles, your knowledge,you senitvity is what i will remember about you.your children will carry on for you.mark keep giving Jesus the praise.love ya
somewhere in my family’s history, someone I don’t even know their name, but that one person chose Christ and passed faith down to the next generation until it reached my grandparents and then my parents and then me. In fact I am sure my faith stands on the shoulders of more “no names” than on the shoulders of a Billy Graham.
I have often thought I am not doing much for God. How insignificant am I! The psalmist declared it to0–what is a human being that you are mindful of them? But God has promised to multiply that which we bring to Him. Abraham never saw the fulfillment of the promise nor did most of the people in Scripture. To me this is not empty promises, to me this is what I hold on to. My grandparents will not be known to anyone in a generation or two. But they made an enormous impact on me. I hope they would think I was worth their life and faith.
I have asked some of these questions from time to time as well. But know this: you have made an impact on my life. Your heart and compassion for “outsiders” is inspiring (and convicting!). Remember the One who is full of “compassion and mercy, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness” (Ps 86:15 NLT).
Remeber the day I sat in a room with you before Paul and I were married and shared the very nasty little secrets from my past relationships…well you never batted and eye, no shock, no judgementalism just a pure expression of compassion. That is how I would remember you!!! But you have work to do, God is not finished with you He is only just beginning. Jesus didn’t start preaching til what age 30. A pastor I know didn’t start preaching til age 40 something.
We all get a window on the futility of life as even Soloman did…but…we have a hope that beats deep within us…You are blessed and be encouraged.