Saturday, October 29, 2022

How It Ends

 Every created thing has a beginning and an end. Even the heavens will pass away with a great noise, the elements will melt, and the earth and the works therein will burn up. Nothing here has permanence, and that includes you and me.

The problem is that we took what God meant to be temporary and infused so much importance into it as to make it seem permanent in our hearts and minds. Even though we were told we would be here, but for a season, that life is but a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away, we focused all our time and energy as though it were the opposite.

We joined the rat race with enthusiasm and gusto. We prioritized our handful of years in such a way as to make God barely show in the top ten, willfully ignoring the eternity that lies beyond this mortal coil.

I grew up in Southern California, and although much has changed, some part of me grows nostalgic from time to time. Whenever I find myself in the old stomping grounds, there are a handful of things I never fail to do. First, I drive through the old neighborhood where I spent my first thirteen years in America, stop at the ancient donut shop on the corner, have a ham and cheese croissant, eat at an El Polo Loco, an In-N-Out, and walk the boardwalk at Venice Beach.

During one of these trips, I happened upon a sand art competition. It was fascinating. This wasn’t like the sandcastles of old my brothers and I used to build when our parents found a day with enough free time to take us to the beach. These were works of art. Faces, chariots, thrones, intricate geometric renderings; they were beautiful.

No matter how lovely, one thing struck me with such force as to make the entire thing strike a note of sadness in my heart. No matter how beautiful, grand, or intricate, they were all temporary. Come the tide, a brisk wind, or a petulant child with a penchant for destroying things, and they would be no more.

It didn’t matter how much time and effort the individuals who had created them expelled. Eventually, they would be gone and altogether forgotten, save for a picture or two someone might have snapped as they stood in their glory.

It is wisdom to learn to number our days, to look up on this life as a journey rather than a destination, and spend the time we do have judiciously and on things of eternal value and consequence.

For a guy who smelled like fish most days, Peter did pen a nugget or two to rival Shakespeare himself. One of these nuggets, which should be a prominent quote in the home of every believer that they might daily look upon it and consider its wisdom, is this: “All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flowers of grass. The grass withers and the flower falls off.”

I get that it might be a bit pricy to hire someone to follow us around and whisper ‘memento mori’ into our ear, but this verse tacked onto a wall where you can see it every morning should serve the same purpose for far less.

Don’t get me wrong; I’d be a hypocrite if I intimated that I never let myself get swept away by life in some form or another, but it’s always temporary, and I always force myself to swim back to shore.

In those moments I don’t feel like swimming back to shore, I even find ways to justify it, telling myself it’s not so much for me as for my girls that I’m doing what I do. Maybe that’s true. I know it is. Still, having a good excuse doesn’t make it right.

What am I blathering on about? Life, I guess… Finding the balance between keeping a roof over one’s head and surrendering to the machine. I know my abilities and aptitudes. I know that if I give myself to it completely, I can build a magnificent sand castle indeed, one to make the other builders envious. Then again, in the end, it would be just a sand castle after all.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea, Jr.  

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow, I loved this. Sand castles is a poetic way to look at this. Life is fleeting, we are but sand castles and the tide of time will wash us away.