Vanity, Vanity (An Edited Repost)

I wrote this post in 2009 around the time of my birthday.  I just happened upon it on MySpace and thought I’d re-post it here.  As I walk through these dark and waterless places, it’s interesting to read perspectives that I had four years ago.

So it’s nearly time for another birthday for me. Generally, birthdays sort of depress me. I really start to analyze life much more than normal and think too deeply about our plight in life.  I remember writing some long blog on my 30th birthday about how I am not where I thought I’d be at that point.

Well here I am again and I’m very tempted to write the sequel to that blog. But it’s a little different now. True, I am not where I’d like to be at this point… But I think that age has brought me a little bit of a gift… a consolation prize if you will. Wisdom…  Ok, maybe not full blown, cut the baby in half, Solomon wisdom… But real life experience and knowledge.

It’s true what they say about our youth. They told us it was the best of times. They told us that that we should stop and enjoy it because once you pass the 20’s, time flies! Boy does it!

I honestly don’t feel old mentally.  But physically there are realities in life that slap you until you are smart enough to accept them. Hairlines shrink, waistlines grow, crows feet form, and gray hairs sprout. But my mind still thinks I can do things the same as when I was 20… Until I try! Then the body reminds me that we are not 20!

I was reading Ecclesiastes today. Solomon had everything. He was the wisest man ever and the wealthiest. He did not withhold any pleasure from himself. Yet he still came to the conclusion that everything under the sun is vanity… a chasing after the wind. That sounds very depressing. But it is reality. Everything here in our world is fleeting… Including us.

I felt the urge to listen to Dark Side of the Moon this afternoon… Roger Waters echoes the things sentiment of Solomon…

Tired of lying in the sunshine staying home to watch the rain.
You are young and life is long and there is time to kill today.
And then one day you find ten years have got behind you.
No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun.

So you run and you run to catch up with the sun but it’s sinking
Racing around to come up behind you again.
The sun is the same in a relative way but you’re older,
Shorter of breath and one day closer to death. – Time (Pink Floyd)

Though Roger’s conclusions are different than Solomon’s, the point is still driven home. “Vanity of vanities… All is vanity!

Solomon concluded that despite the futility of our labors we should “Fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.

Ultimately this is the only thing that matters… Fear God and keep His commandments. A healthy reverence for God almighty and a steady will to follow Him will provide that elusive ‘meaning’ for our lives.

I have included the first chapter of Ecclesiastes below…


Ecc 1:1 The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem.
Ecc 1:2 “Vanity of vanities,” says the Preacher, “Vanity of vanities! All is vanity.”
Ecc 1:3 What advantage does man have in all his work Which he does under the sun?
Ecc 1:4 A generation goes and a generation comes, But the earth remains forever.
Ecc 1:5 Also, the sun rises and the sun sets; And hastening to its place it rises there {again.}
Ecc 1:6 Blowing toward the south, Then turning toward the north, The wind continues swirling along; And on its circular courses the wind returns.
Ecc 1:7 All the rivers flow into the sea, Yet the sea is not full. To the place where the rivers flow, There they flow again.
Ecc 1:8 All things are wearisome; Man is not able to tell {it.} The eye is not satisfied with seeing, Nor is the ear filled with hearing.
Ecc 1:9 That which has been is that which will be, And that which has been done is that which will be done. So there is nothing new under the sun.
Ecc 1:10 Is there anything of which one might say, “See this, it is new”? Already it has existed for ages Which were before us.
Ecc 1:11 There is no remembrance of earlier things; And also of the later things which will occur, There will be for them no remembrance Among those who will come later {still.}
Ecc 1:12 I, the Preacher, have been king over Israel in Jerusalem.
Ecc 1:13 And I set my mind to seek and explore by wisdom concerning all that has been done under heaven. {It} is a grievous task {which} God has given to the sons of men to be afflicted with.
Ecc 1:14 I have seen all the works which have been done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and striving after wind.
Ecc 1:15 What is crooked cannot be straightened and what is lacking cannot be counted.
Ecc 1:16 I said to myself, “Behold, I have magnified and increased wisdom more than all who were over Jerusalem before me; and my mind has observed a wealth of wisdom and knowledge.”
Ecc 1:17 And I set my mind to know wisdom and to know madness and folly; I realized that this also is striving after wind.
Ecc 1:18 Because in much wisdom there is much grief, and increasing knowledge {results in} increasing pain.