Hebel {emptiness or vanity. Transitory and Unsatisfactory}

A live diary by John Lampe


Day 1 – 2/16/2004

At a point in my life, I feel that there is nearly nothing that I can do that is satisfactory and relevant in the face of eternity. There is nothing outside of that which I do for God which counts for anything. This should be obvious to the son of a preacher, raised on the Mission field and exposed to the wisdom of many. But, I went away from it and attempted to satiate my longings for significance through the chasing of pleasures of the mind. A few days ago, I started to read the book of Ecclesiastes. I haven't finished the book yet. However, from the first few sentences, I knew that I was reading truth.


Truth

you know it when you hear it.

It transcends rational thought and logic.

Once stated, it is know.

(perhaps it was always known)

Here is my truth.


This page will be a diary of my reading of the book of Ecclesiastes.



Verse 1: The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem.


My note: The book of Ecclesiastes is typically attributed as being written by Solomon. One of the wisest men of his time, he accomplished nearly everything that was to be accomplished in his age. He was wise and rich and commanded a nation. He had all of the material goods that he could wish for. He had all of the things of the flesh. He accomplished more that I can ever hope to accomplish in my life. He is the perfect person to be writing about regrets of life. For, if he had regrets, then I will surely have regrets. What can I learn from him (from God speaking through him)?


Verse 2: Vanity of Vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities, all is vanity.


My note: This smacked me. This is the verse that caught me. Look at the word 'vanity' or hebel. It means emptiness, transitory and unsatisfactory. Fleeting. I've lately been feeling broken and empty. On a mailing list, I asked the question: “if you were to go to a retirement community (or Old Folks home) and ask the aged men and women about 'regret', what would you hear? How would the tales of their regret change how we might live life? And, I followed my posting by saying that I know in my heart what I would hear, and it is for that reason that I will probably never go to talk to these people. I know, even in doing, that which I do is transitory. What was it the poet said? “I wake to sleep and I take my waking slow”. Everything is meaningless in the face of eternity. So, even if I win the Nobel, it will be forgotten in a million years. Even if I pass a legacy of riches and esteem to my children, it will be forgotten in a million years. All of the love that I can pass to my family – forgotten in a million years. Useless. USELESS! What can I do? How can this pasty and short time on this planet amount to anything. I'm overwhelmed.


Verse 3: What profit hath a man of all his labor which he taketh under the sun?


My note: This verse sums up my note from above. What profit (preeminence or gain) will come from all my labors, after I am dead. That is:


The sum of all I do -

The sum of this pasty existence.

Birth to death weighed, totaled

and found wanting.

No, not even wanting.

Found insignificant.

Of naught.

Approaching zero in the face of eternity.



Day 2 – 2/18/2004


Verse 4: One generation passeth away and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth forever


My note: Real quick, the word in hebrew which was translated to 'forever' has a meaning of 'concealed' or 'the vanishing point'. In other words, it is beyond the finite man (although finite as well). But, from the perspective of a man living and dieing, the earth is forever. It was there when he came and there when he left.



Verse 5: The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down and hasteth to his place where he arose.


Verse 6: The wind goeth toward the South, and turneth about unto the north; it whirleth about continually, and the wind returneth again according to his circuits.


My note: Two analogies on the temporal nature of life. Very poetic. I like the word 'hasteth'. In hebrew it means 'to inhale eagerly'. Do you remember summer vacation when you were a child? Do you remember waking and inhaling eagerly? Do you wake up in that manner today, or do you succumb to the temporal and waxing – the day-to-day preening that count for nothing and take away the sheen of life? Have we become automata humans, only reacting and consuming. I'm reading a book by Joseph Conrad (_Heart of Darkness_). A quote comes to mind:


“I had to keep a lookout for the signs of dead wood we could cut up in the night for the next day's steaming. When you have to attend to things of that sort, to the mere incidents of the surface, the reality – the reality, I tell you – fades. The inner truth is hidden – luckily, luckily. But, I felt it all the same; I felt often its mysterious stillness watching me at my monkey tricks, just as it watches you fellows performing on your respective tight ropes for – what is it? Half-a-crown a tumble---”


We rush from chore to chore:

kids off to daycare or school,

bosses to be pleased,

goods to be gotten,

and, at the end of the day,

we collapse

numb -

gratefully numb.

for we spent a day not noticing...


I want to notice. I don't want to retire at 65 with nothing but a silly placard and a company pin. I want this life to have counted. Counted for something. Weighed and found substantial in the face of eternity. That's my prayer for the day. I want the blinders removed. I want to strip away the temporal and focus on the things that matter.





Day 3 – 2/20/2004


Verse 7: All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again.


Verse 8: All things are full of labor: man cannot utter it; the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing.


My note: The word labor does not here mean 'work'. In hebrew, the first portion of this verse can be translated as “All things are tired or tiresome”. Also, the word utter means, properly, 'to arrange'. I can truly relate to this. How often I try to order or arrange my life. We want everything compartmentalized into easily managed and pleasing packages. But, life doesn't work out like that. It all becomes tiresome or tired. Further, even in doing (and possibly accomplishing), the eye is not satisfied nor the ear filled. The hebrew word for 'satisfied' means 'to sate' or 'fill to satisfaction'. This is telling me what I already found out for myself. Namely, there is nothing in this world that can satisfy my appetite. No matter what I do, I will not be filled to satisfaction.


Verse 9: The Thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.


My note: '...and there is no new thing under the sun.' That says it all.


Shall I pursue a life of Science?

Art?

debauchery?

It is not new.

More of the same

wrinkled, worn, and tired

illusion before death.

A cord placed about the neck:

such that breath becomes all that is desired.

Self-imposed asphyxiation.



So, do I imply that we should just exit stage left? No. I believe that, when you align yourself correctly with God, all becomes joyful. But, we'll have to wait to see what King Solomon has to say about that.





Day 4 – 2/24/2004


Verse 10: Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new? It hath been already of old time, which was before us.


Is there any 'matter of men' that is new under the sun? No.


Verse 11: There is no remembrance of former things; neither shall there be any remembrance of things that are to come with those that shall come after.


There is no 'memento' of 'first things'. Your 'mark on the world' - your legacy - will only be for a finite period of time. At a point, it will vanish, just as you did. What will be my regret? I have a lot to say about Verse 11; However, someone has already said what I feel much more eloquently than I. How ironic is that? Will I be like TS Eliot when he penned the poem below? Time, time, time. There is always tomorrow...always a next minute, a next day – until the last.


The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock


Let us go then, you and I,

When the evening is spread out against the sky

Like a patient etherized upon a table;

Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,

The muttering retreats

Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels

And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells

Streets that follow like a tedious argument

Of insidious intent

To lead you to an overwhelming question...

Oh, do not ask, `` What is it? ''

Let us go and make our visit.



In the room the women come and go

Talking of Michelangelo.



The yellow fog that rubs its back upon the window-panes

The yellow smoke that rubs its muzzle on the window-panes

Licked its tongue into the corners of the evening.

Lingered upon the pools that stand in drains.

Let fall upon its back the soot that falls from chimneys.

Slipped by the terrace, made a sudden leap,

And seeing that it was a soft October night,

Curled once about the house, and fell asleep.



And indeed there will be time

For the yellow smoke that slides along the street,

Rubbing its back upon the window-panes;

There will be time, there will be time

To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet;

There will be time to murder and create,

And time for all the works and days of hands

That lift and drop a question on your plate;

Time for you and time for me.

And time yet for a hundred indecisions,

And for a hundred visions and revisions,

Before the taking of a toast and tea.



In the room the women come and go

Talking of Michelangelo.



And indeed there will be time

To wonder, ``Do I dare?'' and, ``Do I dare?''

Time to turn back and descend the stair,

With a bald spot in the middle of my hair--

[They will say: ``How his hair is growing thin!'']

My morning coat, my collar mounting firmly to the chin,

My necktie rich and modest, but asserted by a simple pin--

[They will say: ``But how his arms and legs are thin!'']

Do I dare

Disturb the universe?

In a minute there is time

For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.



For I have known them all already, known them all:

Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons,

I have measured out my life with coffee spoons;

I know the voices dying with a dying fall

Beneath the music from a farther room.

So how should I presume?



And I have known the eyes already, known them all--

The eyes that fix you in a formulated phrase,

And when I am formulated, sprawling on a pin,

When I am pinned and wriggling on the wall,

Then how should I begin

To spit out all the butt-ends of my days and ways?

And how should I presume?



And I have known the arms already, known them all--

Arms that are braceleted and white and bare

[But in the lamplight, downed with light brown hair!]

Is it perfume from a dress

That makes me so digress?

Arms that lie along a table, or wrap about a shawl.

And should I then presume?

And how should I begin?



Shall I say, I have gone at dusk through narrow streets

And watched the smoke that rises from the pipes

Of lonely men in shirt-sleeves, leaning out of windows? . . .



I should have been a pair of ragged claws

Scuttling across the floors of silent seas.



And the afternoon, the evening, sleeps so peacefully!

Smoothed by long fingers,

Asleep. . . tired . . . or it malingers,

Stretched on the floor, here beside you and me.

Should I, after tea and cakes and ices,

Have the strength to force the moment to its crisis?

But though I have wept and fasted, wept and prayed,

Though I have seen my head [grown slightly bald] brought in upon a platter,

I am no prophet--and here's no great matter;

I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker,

And I have seen the eternal Footman hold my coat, and snicker,

And in short, I was afraid.



And would it have been worth it, after all,

After the cups, the marmalade, the tea,

Among the porcelain, among some talk of you and me,

Would it have been worth while,

To have bitten off the matter with a smile,

To have squeezed the universe into a ball

To roll it toward some overwhelming question,

To say: `` I am Lazarus, come from the dead,

Come back to tell you all, I shall tell you all''--

If one, settling a pillow by her head,

Should say: ``That is not what I meant at all.

That is not it, at all.''



And would it have been worth it, after all,

Would it have been worth while,

After the sunsets and the dooryards and the sprinkled streets,

After the novels, after the teacups, after the skirts that trail along the floor--

And this, and so much more?--

It is impossible to say just what I mean!

But as if a magic lantern threw the nerves in patterns on a screen:

Would it have been worth while

If one, settling a pillow, or throwing off a shawl,

And turning toward the window, should say:

``That is not it at all,

That is not what I meant, at all.''

. . . . .

No! I am not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be;

Am an attendant lord, one that will do

To swell a progress, start a scene or two,

Advise the prince; no doubt, an easy tool,

Deferential, glad to be of use,

Politic, cautious, and meticulous;

Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse;

At times, indeed, almost ridiculous--

Almost, at times, the Fool.



I grow old . . . I grow old . . .

I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.



Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?

I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.

I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.



I do not think that they will sing to me.



I have seen them riding seaward on the waves

Combing the white hair of the waves blown back

When the wind blows the water white and black.



We have lingered in the chambers of the sea

By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown

Till human voices wake us, and we drown.



--TS Eliot



I love that poem. Did Eliot have regrets as he neared the end of his time? When he says “I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker, And I have seen the eternal Footman hold my coat, and snicker”, it gives me chills.





Day 5 – 2/26/2004


Verse 12: I the preacher was king over Israel in Jerusalem.


He was the wisest of the wise. Surrounded by culture, riches, and intellectual stimulation. What more could he want?



Verse 13: And I gave my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all things that are done under heaven: this sore travail hath God given to the sons of man to be exercised therewith.


What does this mean? 'Seek', in hebrew, means to tread, frequent or follow. Solomon set his goals lofty. He set out to seek and know all things. I was reading a signature that a fellow uses on his email. It's a quote by Nietzsche. What was it that Nietzsche said?

For what purpose humanity is there should not even concern us: why you are there, that you should ask yourself: and if you have no ready answer, then set yourself goals, high and noble goals, and perish in pursuit of them! I know of no better life purpose than to perish attempting the great and the impossible...”


In his youth, Solomon set about 'the great and the impossible'. Where did it lead him? In the verse, he goes on to call his quest 'this sore travail'. 'Sore' can be translated as: bad, evil, afflicting, grievous. So, despite the success that we know that he had (historically), he calls this chasing of wisdom afflicting and grievous. Why?


Verse 14: I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and, behold, all is vanity and vexation of spirit.


All is vanity (hebel - empty and transitory) and vexation (feeding on) of spirit (life). Do you know when I feel the emptiest? When I get what I want. When I get exactly that which I have been working for or planning on. I don't believe that this is something that only I experience. I've been thinking lately on the nature of Truth in literature. It seems that logically or philosophically, you can argue for almost anything and, depending on your skill in debating, win (irrespective of actual Truth). In literature, I think the truth can be stated and known. There is no need for a proof when that which is stated is axiomatic – Universal. I think many authors allude to this emptiness. This hebel. Look at what Frost (the poet) and Hesse (the writer) have to say (from many years ago):


...But the worst of it is just this contentment that I cannot endure. After a short time it fills me with irrepressible hatred and nausea. In desperation, I have to escape and throw myself on the road to pleasure, or, if that cannot be, on the road to pain...” [Herman Hesse from Steppenwolfe]


...

I craved strong sweets, but those

Seemed strong when I was young;

The petal of the rose

It was that stung.


Now no joy but lacks salt,

That is not dashed with pain

and weariness and fault;

I crave the stain


Of tears, the aftermark

of almost too much love,

the sweet of bitter bark

and burning clove.


When stiff and sore and scarred

I take away my hand

from leaning on it hard

In grass and sand,


The hurt is not enough:

I long for weight and strength

To feel the earth as rough

To all my length.

[Robert Frost]


What is this unnamed longing: this angst that cannot be extinguished by any human means? What can satiate this desire for some thing (any thing)?



Verse 15: That which is crooked cannot be made straight: and that which is wanting cannot be numbered.


If the starting point is inherently deficient, then there is nothing of merit that can come from it – garbage in, garbage out.






Day 6 – 3/1/2004


Verse 16: I communed with mine own heart, saying, Lo, I am come to great estate, and have gotten more wisdom than all they that have been before me in Jerusalem: yea, my heart had great experience of wisdom and knowledge.


I need a daily communing with my own heart. I need a near-daily alignment. I'm fed with music, television, news, etc. on a daily basis. I'm told what to consume, what to wish to consume, when to consume, etc. And, in the end, I lose sight of what is truly important. Solomon was a consumer of wisdom and knowledge. In his younger days he sustained himself by chasing after his goals. In his older days, having attained everything that was to be attained, he communed with his heart. He laid himself open to introspection. He was honest with himself.



Verse 17: And I gave my heart to know wisdom, and to know madness and folly: I perceived that this also is vexation of spirit.


Verse 18: For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.


Important note. To know wisdom – to truly seek out wisdom – implies that one will know of madness and folly and, hence, increase in grief. To know wisdom, you have to ferret through that which is madness and folly. To increase knowledge is to increase sorrow. I was out driving with my kids yesterday. We saw a retarded girl.



I drove past a retarded girl

skip-shuffling

over sidewalk cracks.

Gait, tilted and gimpy.

She staggered

loop-armed in the grasp of

an elder.

Her coat,

hanging from out-poked shoulders,

cannot fit over

twig-like, bent, misshapen,

arms and fingers

and threatens, at next jostle, to throw

itself prone at her feet like a dark

rip suddenly created in her wake.


As I pass, I catch her face

and jerken motion in my mirror.

She is smiling

(no, not the smile of jester or fool).

Full-faced and sun-basked, ignorance is.





Day 6 – 3/3/2004


Verse 2:1 – I said in mine heart, go to now, I will prove thee with mirth, therefore enjoy pleasure: and, behold, this also is vanity.


So, Solomon has (from chapter 1) tried wisdom and intellect, and found that it led to sorrow. He now looks for the next thing - Pleasure. We live in a society (United States) of much pleasure. It is also hebel. This should be evident from the general demeanor of the folks that you typically run into at store, theater, etc. We need to be entertained nearly constantly. We're afraid of what a few hours of silent introspection might reveal. We are gluttons for the experience of the senses. Reality Television, music, drugs, alcohol, etc. - All hebel.


Verse 2:2 – I said of laughter, it is mad: and of mirth, what doeth it?


The word for 'laughter' means derision, to be mocked. The laughter of fools and skeptics. And, of mirth, he summarily dismisses it. Neither path leads to happiness and is transitory and without meaning. Empty amusements. Have you ever been at a party or public event and watched the shallow personalities gleefully laughing over something silly and inconsequential? It's just another distraction, in my opinion.



Verse 2:3 - I sought in mine heart to give myself unto wine, yet acquanting mine heart with wisdom; and to lay hold on folly, till I might see what was that good for the sons of men, which they should do under the heaven all the days of their life.


Here, Solomon wants to please his senses 'in moderation'. He will imbibe of wine while leading himself to wisdom. Perhaps he wanted a partial numbing, for he already stated that much knowledge and wisdom was hebel – leading to much sorrow. I've also gone down the road of drugs and alcohol. There was no pleasure there. The pleasure lasted only minutes or hours and each successive time required more to bring pleasure for a shorter period of time. It becomes a self-induced torture. After a while, you find yourself going to greater and greater lengths to feel normal for just a few minutes. Truly hebel.



Day 7 and 8 – 3/8/2004


Verse 2:4 – I made me great works; I built me houses: I planted me vineyards


Solomon leaves the philosophical queries and pursuit of knowledge. He builds an estate greater than any before him.


Verse 2:5 – I made me gardens and orchards, I planted trees in them of all kinds of fruits:


He makes lush gardens and orchards with all of the fruits that he could desire to eat.


Verse 2:6 – I made me pools of water, to water therewith the wood that bringeth forth trees:


He builds artificial pools of water to propogate the growth of trees.


Verse 2:7 – I got me servants and maidens, and had servants born in my house; also I had great possessions of great and small cattle above all that were in Jerusalem before me:


He has servants and maidens which propogate his empire and staff. He has more than all that were before him.


Verse 2:8 – I gathered me also silver and gold, and the peculiar treasure of kings and of the provinces: I got me men singers and women singers, and the delights of the sons of men, as musical instruments, and that of all sorts.


He readies himself for delight whenever he chooses. He can beckon and call entertainers before him whenever he needs to be entertained. Today, we have cable TV. He has silver and gold, both from his own hand and from the taxes that were due to the King of the land.


Verse 2:9 – So I was great, and increased more than all that were before me in Jerusalem: also my wisdom remained with me.


On top of it all, he maintains his wisdom.


Verse 2:10 – And whatsoever mine eyes desired I kept not from them, I withheld not my heart from any joy; for my heart rejoiced in all my labor: and this was my portion of all my labor.


Again, he goes after the fleeting feeling of fulfillment.


Verse 2:11 – Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labor that I had labored to do: and, behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun.


Here, he realizes that it is also all hebel. It is all fleeting and transitory. In the end, when all of his estate is weighed in the face of eternity, it is naught. Approaching zero. I saw a documentary on the children of billionaires. One poor guy had an interesting story. He was so bored with his life. He could have any woman, car, house, etc. that he chose to have. There was nearly nothing on the face of the earth that he could not own, if he so chose. Yet, he was bored and unfulfilled. He said that he would read a book and, for a moment, desire something. So, he would go out and get that which he desired, but would become again bored and go back to reading a book. He was spending his life in this tight circle of fantasy-fulfillment-boredom...ad infinitum. I think Solomon also found this to be true, as he says, 'And whatsoever mine eyes desired I kept not from them'. In the end, an accumulation of possessions means nothing. At this point in my study, I do realize this is true. I've seen the principles borne out in my own life experientially. There are times when I desire the new car, or new house, but I at least now realize that the gain in property does not imply happiness. Solomon was lucky to have been to the end of the rainbow. There was no gold to be found – only regret.



Day 9 – 3/13/2004



Verse 2:12 – And I turned myself to behold wisdom, and madness, and folly: for what can the man do that cometh after the king? Even that which hath been already done.


Solomon looks back on the different paths that he has tried. He realizes that none have given him happiness and, further, that what he has been doing is not even unique. I think the latter to be the greater insult. What I am doing, even now, is not unique. I like to write. Often I lament that a certain story has already been told by another. There are a finite number of themes, and the only difference becomes the manner in which one presents the same worn-out theme. In fact, as one professor told me in a writing workshop, there is really only one theme – death. I agree. When looking at a mathematical function, one is interested in bounds, origin, end, points of discontinuity, and points of intersection. As our time on this planet is finite, we are all bounded and of the same origin. The uniqueness is in the points of intersection and the end. All of life is building to one point on the graph. The end. And, if we are lucky enough to be granted the ability to analyze our life in our last moment, what will be our regrets? This was my original question.


Verse 2:13 – Then I saw that wisdom excelleth folly, as far as light excelleth darkness.


He compares the two paths, and grants that wisdom is better than folly; however, he has already stated that neither is an end of itself. That is, neither leads to happiness.


Verse 2:14 – The wise man's eyes are in his head; but the fool walketh in darkness: and I myself perceived also that one event happeneth to them all.


Verse 2: 15 – Then said I in my heart, As it happeneth to the fool, so it happeneth even to me; and why was I then more wise? Then I said in my heart, that this also is vanity.


Wisdom is good, but it won't make you happy and, in the end, you come to the same demise as the fool. To spend your one lifetime seeking only transitory wisdom, knowledge, or pleasures of the flesh all leads to the same end. Seeking wisdom is not bad. Seeking wisdom as the source of happiness is bad.


Verse 2: 16 – For there is no remembrance of the wise more than of the fool forever; seeing that which now is in the days to come shall all be forgotten. And how dieth the wise man? As the fool.


Verse 2:17 – Therefore I hated life; because the work that is wrought under the sun is grievous unto me: for all is vanity and vexation of spirt.



Begging the question: What is the meaning of life? What can a man do that is not hebel?



Day 10,11,12 – 3/13/2004 – 3/21/2004


Verse 2:18 – Yea, I hated all my labor, which I had taken under the sun: because I should leave it unto the man that shall be after me.


There is nothing that we can 'lay our hands on' in this world which can be taken with us after death. I'm reminded of the man who has himself buried in his Mercedes Benz, or has his piano buried with him. How fruitless. The goods just rot under the earth with the man.


Verse 2:19 – And who knoweth whether he shall be a wise man or a fool? Yet shall he have rule over all my labor wherein I have labored, and wherein I have showed myself wise under the sun. This is also vanity.


Some think that Solomon is speaking of his son here. He had one son - a fool.


Verse 2:20 – Therefore I went about to cause my heart to despair of all the labor which I took under the sun.


This is the thing that I wish to avoid. To be lying on my deathbed, or contemplating on my years spent, and realize that all that I had done was fruitless, meaningless, without worth. How sad. I want to enjoy another's hindsight and avoid this.


Verse 2:21 – For there is a man whose labor is in wisdom, and in knowledge, and in equity; yet to a man that hath not labored therein shall he leave it for his portion. This also is vanity and a great evil.


When I was in the Marine Corps, I had a newly-commissioned officer give me a pure silver dollar after I was the first to salute him. I prized the silver dollar, for it reminded me of my duty station, friends, etc. In addition, the dollar was very old and worth a lot of money. I had an acquaintance that found the dollar on my nightstand and used it to buy a pack of cigarettes. When I found out, I was very angry. Here is what is odd. I would not have been as angry if they had pawned the silver dollar and gotten a portion of it's true value. But, instead, they spent it as a regular dollar bill. What was truly irritating was that they did not understand the true worth of the dollar. So, on a larger scale, Solomon is passing his wisdom and knowledge to a man who knows not its worth. That is the greater insult. The hebel and great evil.


Verse 2:22 - For what hath man of all his labor, and of the vexation of his heart, wherein he hath labored under the sun?


Again, what is the end fruit of all my labor? What will count in the face of eternity.


Verse 2:23 – For all his days are sorrows, and his travail grief; yea, his heart taketh not rest in the night. This is also vanity.


Not even rest in the night. I know this feeling...this tossing and turning restlessness...this feeling that there must be more. There must be something which can satiate.




Day 13


Verse 2:24 – There is nothing better for a man, than that he should eat, and drink, and that he should make his soul good in his labor. This also I saw, that it was from the hand of God.


I really do enjoy my labor. Those who know me and know what I do, can attest to this. I thank God that I am allowed to do what I do for a living. I have to be careful not to make that an end in itself.


Verse 2:25 – For who can eat, or who else can hasten hereunto, more than I?


Verse 2:26 – For God giveth to a man that is good in his sight wisdom, and knowledge, and joy: but to the sinner he giveth travail, to gather and to heap up, that he may give to him that is good before God. This also is vanity and vexation of spirit.


If I focus on God, then all the work becomes joyful. If I focus on the work, then all the work in the world would not be able to satiate me. I would 'gather and heap up' to no avail. I wish I had read and understood this many years ago.



EOF