Monday, February 13, 2006

Mike's Quest

Lord, Be with Mike today.
He is just like Solomon.
Right now, all he can see is smoke.
He thinks death will bring silence
--an end to the smoke, peace and quiet.
Help him, like Solomon, to get
to the place where he understands
that it's not all just smoke.
There is purpose.
There is joy.
There is You.

Ecclesiastes 1
The Quester

1These are the words of the Quester, David's son and king in Jerusalem:

2Smoke, nothing but smoke. [That's what the Quester says.]
There's nothing to anything--it's all smoke.
3What's there to show for a lifetime of work,
a lifetime of working your fingers to the bone?
4One generation goes its way, the next one arrives,
but nothing changes--it's business as usual for old
planet earth.
5The sun comes up and the sun goes down,
then does it again, and again--the same old round.
6The wind blows south, the wind blows north.
Around and around and around it blows,
blowing this way, then that--the whirling, erratic wind.
7All the rivers flow into the sea,
but the sea never fills up.
The rivers keep flowing to the same old place,
and then start all over and do it again.
8Everything's boring, utterly boring--
no one can find any meaning in it.
Boring to the eye,
boring to the ear.
9What was will be again,
what happened will happen again.
There's nothing new on this earth.
Year after year it's the same old thing.
10Does someone call out, "Hey, this is new"?
Don't get excited--it's the same old story.
11Nobody remembers what happened yesterday.
And the things that will happen tomorrow?
Nobody'll remember them either.
Don't count on being remembered.

I've Seen It All 12Call me "the Quester." I've been king over Israel in Jerusalem. 13I looked most carefully into everything, searched out all that is done on this earth. And let me tell you, there's not much to write home about. God hasn't made it easy for us. 14I've seen it all and it's nothing but smoke--smoke, and spitting into the wind.

You think you've seen it all, Mike.
I admit it's mostly true.
You are truly a modern day "quester."
Your experiences are amazing,
your accomplishments unparalleled.
Bicycles, BMW's, bureaucratics,
And the pursuit of perfection;
but I know how Vietnam haunts you;
I know how much your children love you.
Your friend was right:
Hope is the difference between the living and the dead,
but it's not the only one.
You don't have to feel like a walking dead person anymore.
Just ask your son.
He'll tell you that, besides you, there's another great father he knows
who has
the answers to your questions
the beginning of purpose
the end to your loneliness
a freedom from nightmares
and a joy unimaginable.
Keep searching. Keep questing.
And I'll keep praying and leaving my classroom door open.

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