“Denying the pain and sorrow that come with being alive is a form of hypocrisy. It is a choice we make to distance ourselves from the truth, or at least part of the truth, and live in a pretentious fairyland. When we do this, we cut ourselves off from what we were made for — loving intimacy with God and others. Intimacy cannot happen without honesty.”- Scott Sauls
In Prologue 10 (“Vapor”) of Beautiful People Don’t Just Happen, Scott Sauls reminds us that every person you meet is fighting a hard battle. And that includes people you wish to meet. As Henry David Thoreau once wrote, “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.”
Therefore, Pastor Sauls contends, we need to acknowledge the pain and sorrow of life. Because, in doing so, in our denial we miss out on the precious gift God’s prepared for those willing to admit and contend with their own hard battles. Hence, we need the honesty of Ecclesiastes.
Consequently, the first and essential step toward wholeness involves coming clean. Furthermore, community happens when one person tells the truth about life and others affirm that truth. Thus, Pastor Sauls explains:
“Every once in a while, we need an Eeyore in our lives who has the courage to say, ‘This hurts. Living hurts. Everything . . . just . . . hurts. Sometimes friends and loved ones need us to be the Eeyore, to go first in giving voice to our sorrows to signal that it’s okay for them to give voice to theirs, too.”
In conclusion, Pastor Sauls notes, the writer of Ecclesiastes uses the Hebrew word for ‘vapor’ when he says that everything is vanity. Certainly, holding on to the good things in life compares to holding on to a fistful of smoke. Not easy.
So, even though we try hard to hold its fumes within our grasp, those fumes leak out between our fingers. In the same way, life leaks out of us every day.
Life’s wonderful, yet tragically fleeting. That’s why we need intimacy with God and others.
Today’s question: What Bible verses help you avoid the feeling that you live in a pretentious fairyland? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: the September Short Meditation, “Deep down every hurting heart knows”