Live. Live Today

Sometimes I find myself echoing the feelings of the writer of Ecclesiastes.

Smoke, nothing but smoke.
There’s nothing to anything—it’s all smoke. 
What’s there to show for a lifetime of work, 
a lifetime of working your fingers to the bone? 
One generation goes its way, the next one arrives, 
but nothing changes—it’s business as usual for old planet earth. 

The sun comes up and the sun goes down, 
then does it again, and again—the same old round. 
The wind blows south, the wind blows north. 
Around and around and around it blows, 
blowing this way, then that—the whirling, erratic wind. 
All the rivers flow into the sea, 
but the sea never fills up. 
The rivers keep flowing to the same old place, 
and then start all over and do it again. 

Everything’s boring, utterly boring— 
no one can find any meaning in it. 
Boring to the eye, 
boring to the ear. 
What was will be again, 
what happened will happen again. 
There’s nothing new on this earth. 

Year after year it’s the same old thing. 
Does someone call out, “Hey, this is new”? 
Don’t get excited—it’s the same old story. 
Nobody remembers what happened yesterday. 
And the things that will happen tomorrow? 
Nobody’ll remember them either. 
Don’t count on being remembered.
{ Ecclesiastes 1: 2-11 > The Message Bible }

“What do you do for a living?” — is a question that is often asked. But I always felt it oxymoronic – coz if we were to follow the logic of this question, we would come to the conclusion that “life = work”.

But if one were to “live for work”, you will find (in time) that you are not “living” at all.

I remember staring into the darkness of a fire-exit and screaming out these thoughts, “… If this is life, then I have no wish to continue living it…” Its funny coz I was barely 12 then and I had already despaired over the thought of having to wake up every day – forced to live a life without purpose, without meaning.

Because even then I understood that without purpose, there is no point to life. I wasn’t “suicidal” – no. I merely yearned for my life to have meaning. There just had to be more… why else would I still be alive?

When I found Christ (well, when Christ revealed Himself to me) – I found that purpose and finally, “life” began. I remember chanting those words “We are the warriors of the New Millennium”, singing songs like “History Maker” and “Spirit of Revival” — filling my heart and my mind with the sense of purpose that I craved – that I needed.

I learned that I was part of the generation that would “shake the nation” -we would bring the change the world needed. I was “chosen” to represent Christ. I was a ticking time bomb strategically placed. When it was my time to “explode” – everyone in my blast radius would have no choice but be affected – infected – with Christ.

Sounds kinda ominous. Like some kind of weird propaganda. But seriously,

I didn’t just chant it. I didn’t just sing it. In my heart, I really believed it.

Its funny because my future was clearer to me when I was 13 than now that I am 25 because of that very reason.

Sometimes, in the attempt to “make a living”, people forget to “live”.

Steve Jobs died today and so many people “mourn” for the loss of yet another great life. And rightly so – coz he changed our lives to the point where we might not even remember what it was before the iPod, the iPhone, the iPad… who knows what other creations the world will now never come to know…

It seems the entire world is in mourning and I find myself thinking, rightly so. But not because Steve Jobs is dead (and because I will never get an iPhone5 approved by his genius…)

What use is there to mourn for those among the dead?

If we mourn, let us mourn instead – for those among the living who have never really lived. 

I write this, not so much for those out there who are reading this, but to myself.

I can’t help but remember all the promises I made to myself – that I would live my life to the fullest – if not for myself – then for all those who don’t have the chance to do so.

For the children of the Shan who may forever be forced to live life inside a refugee state – unable to exercise the right to freely pursue life as they so desire.

For the “Karen”s of the world – taken too early — even before they had a chance to make something out of it (a story for another time).

How many more must die until I fully realize the gift I have been given?

I don’t know why God decided that Steve Job’s time was over and mine was not. I don’t know how to justify that logically. But surely, he knows something that I do not. So, I must preach this word to myself.

Even as a heavy cloak of death hangs about me – even as my bones creak and my withered muscles shake, my whole being seems to be reaching out in desperation screaming,

Save me. I want to live. I want to live today.


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