A Window into Life in the Suburbs


"Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these." Luke 12:27 (NIV)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

God Talk: Striving After the Wind 2

As someone who has been wondering for the past 5 months where God is leading me to, Ecclesiastes has been a Godsend.
On the surface, it's an odd sort of book to be included in the canon of Scripture... pessimisstic rantings and ravings of a philosopher-king disillusioned with his wealth, achievements and relationships. How low can you sink without sinking into the "depths of despair"?
It's a rhetorical question, of course but as someone who has wallowed and groped around in the "depths of despair", I can speak to the dark places that the human mind can find itself in.

Ecclesiastes is, in short, a pride buster or killer or exterminator -- which ever word takes your fancy. Life's too short to waste on bragging.

I don't see how else one can read it. I'm no Que Sera Sera fatalist but there is a sense whereby we are piddly little beings and not always in control of our circumstances. There are things that happen to us that we just have not a lot of control over. Many things happen around us that defy belief or common sense. But they happen, nonetheless.
That's just one aspect.
And then there's our achievements, our talents, our skills. The world around us tells us we have something to be proud of when we gain worldly success. I remember going through a phase in my life when I landed my first real teaching job after being a perennial student. I was excited and not a little fearful to be gainfully employed. During that initial idealistic phase I believed that if I could prove myself in that job, I would have attained something of importance in my short life.
Of course, that's the sort of thinking that ends in tears. I was pretty disillusioned after about a year. While I liked what I was doing, buoyed by the trickle of compliments that I got for doing it, the build-up wasn't all it was cracked up to be.
I learnt quickly that we aren't supposed to find meaning in our jobs -- it's something we do and not what we are. Jobs keep us in breakfast cereals, dead animals and help pay the bills. Occasionally we meet people we really like and build friendships in those situations. God may at his pleasure, grant us opportunities to share the good news of Jesus Christ to our workmates.

But they're not to be our raison d'etre.


Ecclesiastes 3 reminds us also that there are seasons in life. There are times when something may be right/ripe but not at other times. That is for me, I think, one of the hardest lessons in life to embrace.

I'll be honest and say that I've been wanting desperately to go back to work. I felt ready earlier in the year to do so but the doors haven't open for me. The industry in which I worked previously is at a low point and not much recruiting seems to be going on.
However, in the last couple of months I feel like I'm coming out of some kind of semi-depressed state. I'm doing some volunteer English teaching. I've taken on a couple of private tutoring jobs which I had previously resisted doing and I see more and more that I'm meant to be at home for the children and the husband.
There is a sense of freedom for me in that realization. To be busy in what I knew in my heart was necessary and really I didn't need a zap of lightning from heaven to know that the welfare of my family should be a priority especially when 4 year old is still a 4 year old.

I don't know what the next year will bring. Perhaps more of the same.While I'm open to any new opportunities I'll continue to do what I need to do because keeping busy in my case is better than wondering what might have been.

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