Keeping Up With This Generation.

July 22, 2011 at 12:14 am (Contentment, Philosophy) (, , , , , , , , )

“Better one handful with tranquility than two handfuls with toil and chasing after the wind” – King Solomon

I oft get caught up in the notion that people today are unlike any other generation regarding the insane demand to keep up with their crazy schedules. In one sense it’s true, because from cell phones, the internet, the ease of travel, the seemingly constant interconnectedness of everything at all times, our hectic schedules can meet a level of frenzy like never before. Sometimes there appears to be no “off” button.

Yet this passage gives me a pretty clear picture of the hustle some people had even way back then (somewhere between 970-928 BC). On so many levels, in so many different facets of life, humanity screams out one word in unison: “More!” This verse clearly seems to be speaking of what an individual has or acquires through work, time and effort. So much of (American culture, at least) is consumed with the acquisition of money, possessions and power. Not all, but many are constantly moving, and persistently seeking this “more.” The irony is the “more” that humans seek can never be attained! It is a bottomless, all-consuming monster if we allow ourselves to believe the fool’s tale of “I would be happy if I just had  (fill in the blank) !”

Juxtaposing this idea of “more,” is another recurring theme in the heart of humanity that can be seen in King Solomon’s words. However this theme is one that we are much less likely to proclaim enthusiastically as a group. Regardless, it is a common human theme and it is the idea of “contentment.” To me this verse paints a comparison between the person who is able to find contentment in what they have here and now and the person whose life will end in an early grave because they are trying to hold on to so much, with a voracious appetite to gain more than what they have now.

Now I won’t lie. I want and strive after great things in life and I don’t feel bad about that. However, if those things I desire DON’T happen, will I be content with one handful of goodness or will I rush around, annoying and alientating those around me, trying to get more? I pray the human theme I hold onto in my life is contentment and not that soul-engulfing “more.”

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