Insights from the Preacher



As I begin this cyber-journal, I identify with the old man depicted by the preacher in Ecclesiastes, in the first eight verses of Chapter 12. I am the man whose years have "drawn nigh".

1. Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them; (In my evil days, pleasure has shifted from vigor and stamina to doctor appointments and perseverance.)

2. While the sun, or the light, or the moon, or the stars, be not darkened, nor the clouds return after the rain: (My universe has not yet darkened. Perhaps this is so because I do not live out my days "under the sun" as the sons of Solomon.)

3. In the day when the keepers of the house shall tremble, and the strong men shall bow themselves, and the grinders cease because they are few, and those that look out of the windows be darkened, (The keepers of the house - muscles - do tremble; strong men - bones - do indeed bow themselves; grinders - teeth - would indeed be few if not for the miracle of dentistry; and having recent cataract surgery, my windows - eyes - are no longer dark.

4. And the doors shall be shut in the streets, when the sound of the grinding is low, and he shall rise up at the voice of the bird, and all the daughters of musick shall be brought low; (The sound in the streets and grinding is lower, but my hearing, although less acute, is still adequate to enjoy music and conversation. My nights are not yet sleepless. Random sounds do not awaken me.

5. Also when they shall be afraid of that which is high, and fears shall be in the way, and the almond tree shall flourish, and the grasshopper shall be a burden, and desire shall fail: because man goeth to his long home, and the mourners go about the streets: (I am more afraid of falling and breaking something these days. I don't suffer from insomnia, but I am much more fearful of losing my health.)

6. Or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern. (These four metaphors of death -- loosed and broken bodies -- will all happen to me. No doubt. My dash between the dates bear witness that I am aware of my mortality, my heritage, and my destiny.)

7. Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it. (I recognize myself as a "conditional unity". Someday soon, my material self will crumble into the earth, while the real me -- my soul -- will rise into God's care.)

8. Vanity of vanities, saith the preacher; all is vanity. (Indeed, Preacher Solomon, all of my words demonstrate foolish vanity. Of all God's creatures Chris Foreman must rank as the prince of vanity.)