Heroes. We all have them. I did. Whether it’s the local fireman, United States soldier, actor, fictional character that possesses super-human powers, a friend, or even a parent. There are many heroes in my life, too many to give credit here in this thought. My brothers and I have always had a love for these fictional characters previously mentioned, my parents probably spent hundreds of dollars on action figures and their corresponding accessories. I bathed with them, slept with them, snuck them into school, church, and probably even weddings and funerals. They went everywhere with me, I simply didn’t want it any other way. Several years ago these characters began to take on a whole new meaning in my life, the major motion picture. Primarily only Batman and Superman received such recognition, but now these characters such as Spiderman, The Avengers, Green Lantern, etc. made new films, and audiences were able to connect with their personalities, struggles, and victories. It’s difficult to put these feelings into words but I somehow always felt a strong connection to these normal “super heroes”, the men who attempted to live normal lives but would often hide behind a mask in order to protect their true identity. A bond was established. A connection between these characters. These individuals wanted to live normal lives, but something deep down in their being was at constant war. Does Batman sacrifice his own life in order to save the millions of people in Gotham city? Does Spiderman risk losing everything in order to save his precious Mary Jane? What made them so special? Why weren’t they able to throw those things aside and say, “No, that’s not the life I have chosen for myself, I will live my life this way.”? When you get down to the bottom of it, they were full of conflict, frustrated at life and their inability to ever make a real difference in the world around them. As I mentioned several weeks ago, I initiated “The Strong” challenge in my life. At the same time, I picked up a newly released christian book and began reading it to go along with my six-week devotions. This past week one of the chapters focused on the Old Testament book, Ecclesiastes. I won’t lie, the majority of the O.T. is way over my head, as well as the New Testament. Ecclesiastes was no different. However, over the past week, I developed a new understanding and established a new connection to a lifelong hero, King Solomon. Let’s establish several things: Solomon was king of Israel, the wisest and smartest guy to ever live, a literal Casanova (700 wives and 300 concubines. WHAT UP?!?!), and one of the wealthiest guys to ever live! How can someone like that not be a hero? He literally had everything all of us ever wanted, worked or wished for. However, the entire book discusses his distaste for life, his frustrations regarding the monotony and how all of his actions in this life are meaningless. Talk about depressing. But that’s exactly how I feel on most days. I wake up every morning at 5:30am, work, study, exercise, establish/nurture friendships, help people (some of whom I could care less), and better my life, go to bed after midnight, and then hit the repeat button. My life is an extended copy of Bill Murray’s “Groundhog Day”. It sucks. Every so often I will become so overwhelmed at how hard I have worked, and the so little that I have accomplished. This is exactly what Solomon is saying, the entire first two chapters. He opens up with saying, “everything is meaningless”. Thanks, Debbie Downer…. “I observed everything going on under the sun, and really, it is all meaningless–like chasing the wind” (v.14). He speaks of his frustrations that he cannot take his possessions, wealth, intelligence, and accomplishments with him into the afterlife, and that his children get to squander all of his feats. He talks concerning his attempts at finding contentment, throwing elaborate parties, enough for twenty-thousand people, Jay-Z doesn’t have anything on that kind of shindig! He sought wisdom, earthly possessions, built great architectural feats in hopes to be remembered, and then of course sex (ie all of the wives/concubines). (Chapter 2). What was his answer to this? “…in future generations, no one will remember what we are doing now”. Simply, no one will remember us. We’ll die and then drift into oblivion. Like these super heroes with whom I connect with, Solomon is searching, searching for an answer to make that difference, something that will fill the void. Is the void complete in the arms of a woman? May not hurt, but there’s something missing. Solomon said that he denied himself no pleasure, which turned him to “hate life because everything done here under the sun is so troubling. Everything is meaningless” (2:17). However, Solomon finally lets us in on a secret that brought fulfillment into his life.
“So I decided there is nothing better than to enjoy food and drink and to find satisfaction in work. Then I realized that these pleasures are from the hand of God. For who can eat or enjoy anything apart from Him? God gives wisdom, knowledge, and joy to those who please Him…” (2:24-26)
Word! The answer. Boom. Life’s pleasures are from God. Why do I hate life? Because I’m trying to enjoy these pleasures without Him. Solomon, the wisest man to ever walk this earth merely stated that it was impossible with enjoy life without the deity who gave us that life. This was not the answer I was looking for, nor was is particularly the answer I wanted. Therein lies the turmoil, the struggle of my inner-self, which part of the double-personality of Kris Elkins do I please? The next time I begin to feel frustrated with life, I need to remember that it’s temporary. My actions are not permanent, and mistakes can always be corrected. However, this life on earth is not what is most important, it’s the life that awaits me in eternity, whether that will be a life of joy and happiness versus a life or turmoil and pain is yet to be decided. Up to me. My life is meaningless, meaningless without the one who created me, purposed me to uplift others through giving Him glory.