The words of David’s son, Qoheleth, king in Jerusalem: Vanity of vanities, says Qoheleth, vanity of vanities! All things are vanity!
What profit have we from all the toil which we toil at under the sun?
One generation departs and another generation comes, but the world forever stays.
Coincidentally, this was today’s first reading at Mass; this same day, my father-in-law, Dan died. He and his wife had been living near us for the past year and a half. My wife wanted them to have the best quality of life they could, and she devoted time and energy to medical appointments, prescriptions, and whatever else contributed to their lives. Dan bundled up and sat in the stands to watch soccer games. We had cookouts. He watched LSU football (on tleveision) with us. He loved opera, and we shared performances.
I think Qoheleth (whoever he was—some believe it was Solomon) was pretty much correct, but not perfect. It’s not the world that stays forever, but us. We move from this life into the next, and long after the world is gone, we continue.
So, to Qoheleth I say, thank you, but remember also, “Where your treasure is, there also is your heart.” Our toil under the sun isn’t wasted if it is to serve God and others. My treasure is my God, my faith, my family, and my values—and that’s where my heart is.