As I sat in my living room last night and listened to a friend talk about her experience reading the book of Ecclesiastes, one point in particular stuck with me. It was a phrase she mentioned regarding “this world we must live in until the resurrection”. What I heard was “until heaven gets here, we must endure what is before us.” NO. My internal sensor yelled. I don’t just want to endure and I don’t want to wait. I want to live and I want to experience heaven here and now! Is it possible? I say, YES! (Not, of course, the sugary sweet, angels floating on clouds & playing harps thing ☺).
“And I set my mind to seek and explore by wisdom concerning all that has been done under heaven. It is a grievous task which God has given to the sons of man.” Ecclesiastes 1:13
Seeking and exploring “all that has been done under heaven.” What? Seeking and exploring. Broadening our horizons. To see. To see much is grievous. To live in the dark, is that any less grievous? It hurts to have our eyes opened to the world.
It is a grievous task to seek all AND it is glorious. It is in the seeking and exploring that life happens. Not in simply enduring until the end of the journey. The seeking and exploring speak to heaven and hell on earth. Both/and. So when we take on this grievous task, it is severe and serious. It demands great skill (or at least desire) and resiliency. We are tested and stretched. We must become flexible so that we may bend without breaking. Flexibility defined says that after bending we may not return to our previous shape. (I believe in most cases that is probably not a bad thing.)
It is in the seeking and exploring that we become flexible and more present to “all that has been done under heaven.” Sitting and waiting can atrophy us. (Please know, I am NOT talking about contemplation here.) We become rigid, unchanging and ineffective. To avoid this, we must move. We must journey. Up and down the winding path. In and out. Fluid like the water of a flowing river. It is the journey in which we are cleansed. Washed. Nearly drowned at times. Making splashes by refusing to be complacent. Shedding tears of beauty and tears of sorrow. Journeying with wisdom through the grievous task set before us.
Let us not simply endure and wait. Let us choose to live and experience life here and now.