Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Happiness, Eternity, and a Life Well Lived

Last week was a grief-filled one for my hometown. First came the death of a kid who graduated a year or two ago and had been battling leukemia; soon after, a man who worked for the school (and a family friend) died from cancer. He was in his early 30s.

I noticed yesterday that some kids started a group on Facebook in memory of their classmate. Curious, I clicked the link; the group description made my heart hurt:

"From his life, we need to learn to live more freely and do the things that will make us happy now, because we don't know how long we have here with our loved ones."
Oh, that we would learn to number our days aright and gain hearts of true wisdom. Is that really the lesson to learn from the death of a 19-year-old (or a 30-something-year-old)--life is short, so live for the moment and seize any possible temporary happiness? God, forbid it! It's exactly the opposite!

Life IS short. Whether we are 50, 80, or 26, we don't know what day will be our last. Life is a vapor--and so many of the things that make us happy now are so temporary, so fleeting--so empty. They have no eternal meaning. Given two choices, both of which would bring you pleasure and joy, would you take the one that would make you happy for five minutes, or the one that would make you happy for twenty years? How much more significant, then, is the choice between what might make you happy for twenty years and what would fill you with overwhelming joy FOREVER!

It isn't wrong to pursue happiness; in fact it's very GOOD to do so!--provided you know the true Source of all joy and are pursuing what will make you happy not for an hour, or a few years, but for an eternal lifetime. If life on this earth is merely the first, single page of a book that has no end (as I believe with all my heart it is)--what foolishness and stupidity to live for today! What wisdom it would be to say not "I'm going to live for today's pleasures, because they'll be over soon"...but "I'm going to do the things that will make me happy for eternity, because this life will end soon and those pleasures will last forever."

How I pray that these kids would not put all their hope in maximizing their happiness for a few years--that they would not think that a life well lived means a life in which you had as much fun as you could before you died. May God remove the blinders from their eyes and show them (may He show us all!) that there is more to live for than parties and good memories with your friends or family--that the deep, lasting happiness we all seek can only be found in Him.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

This really spoke to me today. Thank you for posting this!

zz said...

Well said, Amy. I was watching Diane Sawyer's interview with the late the Randy Pausch (of the famed "Last Lecture") who died of cancer at 47.

As much as I gleaned from his lecture, I was painfully aware that there was no mention of God or faith except when he referred to his late father as "the most Christian man I've ever known." I hope when the next famous Christian died, his or her legacy will circle the globe on YouTube with the clear and resounding message that our life is not just to be for today, but in light of "The Day."

Anonymous said...

god you're an idiot