Friday, December 17, 2010

The Meaning of Life: Part 2 Don't Get Caught by the Hustle

And I saw that all toil and all achievement spring from one person’s envy of another. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.
Fools fold their hands
   and ruin themselves.
Better one handful with tranquility
   than two handfuls with toil
   and chasing after the wind. Eccl 4:4-6

If you look at media and popular culture there is at least one message that rings abundantly clear.

More is better!

Advertising has taught us that we won’t be happy unless we have more. We always need the next gadget, the big house, the fancy car. There is nothing wrong with nice things. As a matter of fact I happen to like nice things. I like them a lot. But having nice things isn’t the problem. The problem is when we assign personal value to obtaining these things.

Often times it is competitive. We look around at others and see their perceived wealth and think, man… why can’t I have that? And from these salty seeds the weeds of greed sprout, only to be watered all the more by the society that we live in. If only we can be richer than the Joneses then we will be BETTER than them too.

No one comes out and actually says this, but for most of us it is a latent motivation, deep within the parts of ourselves that we least like to face.

Ok don’t believe me? I’ll give you a perfect example. Marriage.

Oh no, I’m not talking about the obvious things like men wanting the most beautiful woman or women wanting the most successful man… I’m talking about the process of getting married.

That’s right… the engagement ring and the wedding.

The engagement is the proving ground of the man. De Beers and the rest of them folks have convinced us over the past several decades that diamonds are a girl’s best friend. They have convinced us that one must purchase a diamond ring as a display of their affection for their soon to be wife. Before it was always the ring that was the symbol right? The ring is the unending circle that signifies a commitment that will never be broken. But nowadays it is the diamond too. The bigger and clearer, the more he loves her. And everyone’s watching. The first mention of a woman being engaged is followed immediately by the question “oh so let’s see the ring…”

And if that ring ain’t up to “par” then it’s all bad. Too much pressure for a situation that should be so beautiful…

Then if you make it past the engagement hurdle, the wedding comes. Who are you going to invite? Where will it be? What dress will she wear? What food will the guests eat? We can’t sit uncle Rufus next to Aunt Maybell. We said we’d only invite 100 people but what about my second cousins on my momma’s side? They’ll be furious if they aren’t invited. Couples take out loans the size of down payments on would be homes so that they can please all of these other people and prove to them the largesse of their love.

And the coldest part of this hustle is that the whole purpose of this expression of love and commitment has vanished into an elaborate and expensive show and tell. There are countless couples who delay engagement because of their expectations for the kind of ring they should buy or how much the wedding will cost. Others assume crippling debt to keep up with the weddings that their friends and family had while still others, who try to do it within their means, get judged for the fiscal modesty of their displays of affection.

All of this for two special events that are supposed to be about love: the day a couple privately agree to commit themselves to each other for life, and the day that they share that commitment with their family and friends.

My point isn’t to expose the obvious hustle behind this whole industry. We all know what’s going on here. And my point is not to trash beautiful rings and weddings. I think it is wonderful when two people can share their love with each other and their loved ones in beautifully creative ways.

But at the end of the day it’s easy to lose focus. The focus should be on enjoying that present moment. It should be about planning every single day to share the best, most loving life together.

Don’t worry about what the next person is doing, or wearing, or driving. Just focus on the life that you live, the choices that you can make, and the joy that you can experience each and every day. Find work that fulfills your purpose, work that you enjoy, work that puts food in your family’s belly.

Everything else is nice and great but it’s not necessary. If you want it then by all means go for it!!! Enjoy the wonderful treasures that life has out there for us.

But do it for you. Do it because it is what YOU want, not because someone else is watching you or telling you how you should live your life.

Your life is yours. Seize the day! The present moment is all we are guaranteed. Never lose sight of that, and your days will be filled with joy. 

1 comment:

  1. Hello Man of God,
    Here lies the key. "Your life is yours. Seize the day! The present moment is all we are guaranteed. Never lose sight of that, and your days will be filled with joy".

    Regardless of what it is you want or desire, the bottom line is seizing it from moment to moment. Each moment you spend is the sum total of the future YOU are creating. It will either be pleasurable with the ones you love, or it can become a living hell.

    I've been seeking the Lord specifically in this very area of loving someone. What I discovered through that process was being more afraid of loosing that person.

    It was just easier to prepare myself for the loss and that way some of the sting is removed. Yet I was so wrong. Truth is, if I had never stepped out and believed in the possiblity of being with this person I would have never learned what was really going on inside of me.

    NOW, faith is the substance...and faith works by LOVE...and the just shall live by faith.

    Point is, I could not receive what I wanted because my mind was in the future on what could happened, instead of where I am and how I really feel. However, it is wise to prepare for the future, but if your life is ruled by all the what if's, you will miss out on all that is available and present for you here and now.

    Much Love


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