Fades away in the reality

By Dave Henning / February 20, 2024

“Most people, if they really learn how to look into their own hearts, would know that they do want, and want acutely, something that cannot be had in this world.  There are all sorts of things in this world that offer to give it to you, but they never keep their promise. . . .  There is always something to be grasped at, in that first moment of longing, that just fades away in the reality. . . .  but ‘It’ has evaded us.”- C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

“Then I considered all my hands had done and the toil I had expended doing it, and behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun.”- Ecclesiastes 2:11 (ESV)

“But in contentment I still feel the need for imperishable bliss.”- Wallace Stevens, “Sunday Morning” (poem)

In Chapter 4 (“A Satisfaction That Is Not Based on Circumstances”) of Making Sense of God, Timothy Keller notes two things about the author of Ecclesiastes.  Certainly, the author battled the fear of meaninglessness (vanity).  But he also battled the disappointment of success.

Today, we see human life transformed in so many ways.  Yet even though we possess greater wealth and comfort than our ancestors, no one argues that we are significantly happier.  As a result, it seems that in regard to happiness, Timothy states, we find ourselves right back where we started.

However, Terry Eagleton, British writer, academic, and educator, states that the term happiness masks the problem.  Rather than reveals it.  Because the term lacks depth.  Hence, its meaning ranges from simply “being okay” to “having fun.”

Therefore, Pastor Keller asserts, we need to get at our condition more accurately.  Ask about fulfillment and satisfaction in life.  And ask if we’re achieving those things.  Or do you have a much thinner life satisfaction than you want to admit to yourself?

Today’s question: What have you grasped at that just fades away in the reality?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “A spectrum of experience”

About the author

Dave Henning

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