I find it so interesting that Webster’s Dictionary defines a cliché as “[a phrase or expression] that has become overly familiar or commonplace” to the extent that it has lost its originality and/or effectiveness. It’s interesting because lately some of the greatest clichés to me have ceased to become soundbites or word-candy and have simply become Truths.
In reference to the raising of one’s children:
“Enjoy it, because it goes by quickly.”
When comparing one’s lot in life to another’s:
“The grass is always greener on the other side”
When acknowledging one is out of touch with reality or ghastly misinformed:
“Ignorance is bliss.”
All are Truths that, over the years, haven’t hit the ear with the real impact and respect that these Words of Wisdom should actually carry.
The cliché demanding my examination at the moment:
“There is nothing new under the sun.”
Of course in my 41 years of living I have heard these words found in Ecclesiastes (1:9 NIV) before.
They were written by an Amazing Truthseeker, the son of a King and a powerful King in his own right; the wealthiest, the smartest and the most materially and opportunely blessed amongst all of his time.
Have you ever read these twelve burdensome chapters of Truth about the human experience and human condition? Solomon quested, with his God-ordained aptitude to acquire knowledge, for The Meaningful and concluded that earthbound human effort and desire is ultimately meaning-less.
As in having no real value, purpose nor importance.
Taking into account his exalted status, material comfort and gifted intelligence it is a depressing realization for sure. And if you’re not in the right state of mind while reading his reflections they will present as laments of hopelessness, a “What’s the point?” if you will; and seemingly biblical permission to go ahead and just give up on striving to live a “good” life.
I can relate. I identify completely with his findings. My heart recognizes his despondency. If this text were a long winded rant on his Facebook page, I would give him my thumbs up out of solidarity.
There are so many of my days in which I have embodied an Ecclesiastes mindset.
From generation to generation, our experiences are identical, repetitive and unoriginal. We are often all plagued by the same futile earthly ambitions, choices and disappointing outcomes because as humans Struggle is our genetic disposition. The struggle is real.
So what is new?
Having been an integral part of birthing four beings into this world, I can attest to newness. My recognition of such gives my heart a little lift from the belief that creeps in that “It’s no use.”
If you’ve ever held the sweet weight of a newborn, in your arms, yours or another’s, you’ve witnessed Heaven and have been gifted a fresh perspective on life – if even for just one brief moment.
Heaven has undeniably been set in our hearts.
As we fix our focus beyond the Earth, up and over the sun – Heavenward, we’d use our time best here by looking for those glimpses of Heaven and newness; not in assigning high value to our worldly treasures, our titles, our or our children’s accomplishments, the good deeds we’ve amassed, the mountain tops we’ve climbed or whatever else we may have decided is the definition of meaningful life.
What is that Heaven on Earth moment branded into your heart and onto your psyche? The one that raises your skin to goosebumps and reminds you of your meaningfulness? The thing that helps you recall who you are and whose you are?
Every one of us is new. There has never been another with the ethereal makeup of your unique self and there will never be again. And in this life when we are living day-by-day, sometimes breath-by-breath, renew your mind and remember that every new sunrise is accompanied by His new mercies on your life.
After such a lengthy report on his findings, Solomon was very succinct with his advice at the end of Ecclesiastes (12:14). But hundreds of years apart, the apostle Paul echoes Solomon’s same point, in his own words, with clarity and instruction regarding how to surmount the meaninglessness in order to live life meaning-fully:
“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it.” Romans 12:2 MSG