I heard someone discussing health care today- the usual discussion about self inflicted health problems, such as those associated with smoking or obesity.
Discussions like this usually make me feel uncomfortable- many of us think that we ought to be healthier- take more exercise, loose some weight. It has been a guilt on me for most of my life.
But that is not the point of this post.
Because the counter argument that was made really made me think. It went something like this-
What is this obsession with making life longer– as if this were the main reason for life itself? Why should every thing that we do be governed by the fear of death?
Why do we measure life quantity so rigourously- in terms of years, months, days and hours (as well as the cost of maintenance through health care?)
Whilst at the same time we have lost sight of any reliable qualitative measure of life- despite all the lifestyle choices that we are bombarded with- the holidays, the houses, the constructed leisure experiences, the pressure to consume ever more produce that fills life with all things shiny and new…
What makes for a ‘good’ life?
I suppose for many of my friends, this might include varied experience, travel, relationships, family, economic security, fulfilment. All of these things are good.
But is this it? We live as long as we can, and if we are lucky we might have some laughter, some love and consume a fair bit?
No. Something in me rebels against the hollowness- the shallowness– of this kind of life.
As was the writer of Ecclesiastes-
13 I devoted myself to study and to explore by wisdom all that is done under heaven. What a heavy burden God has laid on men! 14 I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind.15 What is twisted cannot be straightened; what is lacking cannot be counted.
But there is more.
There is life that is not lived as an avoidance of the inevitable, with added entertainment.
It is a way of life that seeks human connection, human service, and the life of the Spirit of God within us. The way of Jesus.
This kind of life is not easy and clean or overly concerned with safety or security. It is more likely to be messy, unpredictable and even downright dangerous.
But this is the kind of life I long for. Because the alternative seems like no life at all.
Michaela’s step father Robert died recently- the shadow of death fell across us, and we still live with the grief and loss. But life is such a precious, wondrous, joyous thing. Let us not waste it in the pursuit of quantity.
Life still flickers
I have heard it said that
Dead men walking
Blown by flies
But life still flickers
Faint but strong
Vibrating these hollow veins
And the voltage you make
Is a current
Wired to the nape
Of my neck
Because this thing we are
Is more than just
So much more than just
Mixed from mud