The Art of Being

I spent so much time outside this weekend. Spring is peeking its face around the corners of winter. Out where we biked (and fished) the snowcapped mountains stood like testaments, reminding me of all it’s taken to get us here – of all I have, and how unbelievably rich life can be.

We rode by pastures and fields filled with cows, horses, and sheep lazily drinking in the sun. There are few things in the world that calm me more than watching a horse shuffle around in a ranch pasture, pricking its ears at the sounds of cars and trucks going by, but not caring one whit about them. I want to be that way. Aware of the madness of life, but not affected by it. Basking in God’s sunlight and letting my soul rest in contentment with what I have.

I am absurdly, absurdly blessed. When I worry about anything lately, I just feel like an ungrateful wretch. I think I’m beginning to get better about it, finally: I’m beginning to see that anything surrendered to God, whether it be a day at work or a chronic weakness of my own, will see transformation. In that surrender is my freedom. I will never know peace until I make this my first art every morning. Until I learn to do it in my sleep.

Lately, Solomon’s words in Ecclesiastes keep returning to me:

I have seen the burden God has laid on men. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live. That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil—this is the gift of God.

Ecclesiastes 3:10–14, NIV

I feel that burden of temporal beauty. I feel that frustration of not being able to see and understand everything God has done, and is doing, from the beginning of the world to its end.

And yet, in the midst of this divine restlessness, God tells us: “It’s okay to simplify.” There is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live. The doing good part I get, but wait: God wants me to be happy?

Yes. This will never cease to catch me off-guard; proof that my own theology is sometimes twisted, and that my own guilt far too often gets in the way of me seeing and accepting God’s love.

That said, it is not good to cling to happiness and define ourselves by it; it is not good to attempt to duplicate it apart from God. I will never be satisfied with self-created happiness. If God is the author of joy, then the only place to find it in its purest form is in Him.

And this is the secret. This is Solomon’s wisdom: if God is the source and center of my life, then joy and doing good will be born of each other.

I want everything I do to feed this cycle.

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