I clerked midweek meeting for worship for all two of us (we need to publicize). I got there in time to open and settle into the space before the other person (who thought she was supposed to open) showed up. As i waited, i flipped open to the bible in my Kindle app, some (mysterious to me) New King James version. (I grew up with the New English Bible, not available on the Kindle). The simple description of Ecclesiastes as reading like a spiritual journal appealed to me. After a long work day, the writer of the book's focus on labor caught my attention. Wikipedia notes, "The subject of Ecclesiastes is the pain and frustration engendered by observing and meditating on the distortions and inequities pervading the world, the uselessness of human deeds, the limitations of wisdom and righteousness."
When i read "all is vanity" i found myself interpreting vanity as illusion. This translation notes the Hebrew for the word translated as "vanity" means literally "breath" or "vapor." The correlation with Maya strikes me even more deeply.
The "for everything there is a season" section reads differently in context. In some ways, the author appears frustrated by cycles and repetition. There's something about the writing that makes me feel the author(s) are just at the edge of seeing past that vanity, the illusion, and yet ...
I've not read the whole book, and as i have a desire to reflect on the transformative nature of love, i don't see the author leading me where i want to go.
I recognize the time i put into my work is driven by my care for colleagues. I recognize that this is playing into a dysfunctional environment.
While i understand what i see and experience is illusion, there's a a slight current i sense that i believe is the power of love. In a moment, its hardly noticeable, yet i believe there's a geologic scale to the process, and i want to align myself to that current.
I suppose i tangle with these thoughts because i can articulate how i am affecting individual's lives through my current work, i can articulate how this work affects communities and creates access to more of the cultural resources for all. Yet it's a dysfunctional context. When i look at what i imagine doing,dream of doing, it seems altogether selfish and indulgent (as well as unlikely to be sustaining).
"All things are wearisome; more than one can express; the eye is not satisfied with seeing, the ear is not satisfied with hearing."
My faith is the faith that denies this even when it is the most concrete expression of my experience. I will trust that slight current and allow myself to be drawn towards joy.
In completely different news, Edward brought home another cat. Christine grounded him all morning, and Edward didn't understand. He kept coming back to us in the office, asking to be let out. Eventually we found a stash of jingle bells. To the two already on his collar, we have added five new bells. I want a hovering neon sign to follow him around. "The cat is right here!"