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.
Thank you, Steve–and your wife–for sharing this part of your life with us. You, your wife and your family have my most sincere condolences at the loss of your beloved. What’s beautiful about death is how it makes our life precious. For example, Jesus’ last great act of love was to die on the Cross for us–and for us to hear: “Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do.” Your wife’s father’s last great act of love was to bring many people to the foot of the Cross of Jesus. And before that, your wife and yourself received an opportunity not only to serve and love him, but to “let him go with great peace”–something that most children are not blessed to experience. We serve a God of abundance. With God, nothing is ever wasted. He’ll never waste an experience. He’ll never waste a hurt. He’ll never waste a memory. Continued blessings be to you all.