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Significance

May 18, 2010

by Marc Wallis

How do we determine if something really mattered?  If it had any weight, or impact or significance at all?

This is a concept that’s been rolling around in my mind for the past few months, and I feel that is a fitting topic for my first blogpost.  My hope for this post, and any subsequent posts that may or may not be published (we’ll see how this one turns out), is that it may entice the reader to deeper thought, causing them to see things in a new way. While the chances of my post actually accomplishing this goal are slim, it will serve, in the very least, as an outlet for my scattered thoughts, and perhaps help me make more sense of these things in my own mind.

Everything in our world seems to have an end.  All that we build with our hands, taste with our tongues and take in with our eyes is fleeting.  The land and resources, wealth and water, fame and glory that men have devoured each other for, and spilt blood in search of, will pass away.  Even the earth itself wears out like a garment, and man is but a vapor.

I have always placed value on things that seem to last awhile.  The ending of things always bums me out. I have such a strong desire for the “happily ever after.”  I love the high of the emotional highs, but fear the impending weight of the lows that inevitably follows. My happiness is always tainted by the thought of, “this will not last.” In the morning everything will be back to the way it was.  Why take pleasure in something that will end shortly?

These thoughts way down on me, and I am forced to ask myself why I think them. Perhaps I am simply a pessimist at heart, or maybe they are a defense mechanism I’ve built to protect myself from losing things. For like most of us, I have experienced loss in my life. Deep, cutting loss that leaves you shaken and scarred in ways that may not be fully revealed or understood until years later; if ever.  Whatever the reasons may be, the fact remains: this way of thinking colors the way I see the world.  And something I have learned along the way is that no matter how outlandish, frightening or unique you image your thoughts to be, you are not alone. There is someone out there who has felt the same. So perhaps these musings of mine are not for me alone.

I can think of many movements (groups, organizations, churches), all begun with the best of intentions, that are born in a flash of fire and light and come crashing into this world intent upon changing it for the better.  These movements spring forth as an answer to the pain and injustices and false thinkings that we perceive all around us.  No matter how noble and inspiring their inception, their end is all too often a slow and drawn out death like that of a withering tree, old and fruitless, clinging to a life and a relevance that has passed on. The passionate, authentic actions of the movement’s founders slowly lose force over time, eventually becoming nothing more than empty rituals conducted out of duty and tradition rather than a genuine desire for something more. After enough time has passed, some of the followers begin to realize the emptiness of their activities and leave; and thus the movement dies, or worse, continues on as a ghost of its former brilliance, trapping the few who remain in an invisible cage of apathy and irrelevance.

This disheartens me.

I want good things to remain good. I want them to continue on. I don’t like it when they end.  And when they do, I question whether there was any point to it all. This leads me to further doubts which, in turn, cultivate a spirit of pessimistic and passive inactivity. Why begin something that may never taken off and will end someday anyway? What’s the point?

However, I am slowly being convinced that things don’t work this way.  Although objects may be finite; words, actions, choices – the repercussions of these stretch out into eternity.  This concept reminds me of the scripture where Christ says that the Words of God will never perish. So then, if we live out these words with our lives and speak them with our tongues, will they not continue on as well? I believe that God is constantly at work in this world. Look around – there is life and beauty and love all around shining through the darkness; and this light is the confirmation that God, the Father of Lights, is active. He moves about like a wind. We must chase this wind, jump in and let it carry us away. God works, and when his purpose is complete, I believe He moves again and begins another work. We must follow hard after Him.

For me, this concept ties into this blog. I desire it to be, and I know its originator desires it to be, an impetus for thought and growth and change. It may never amount to anything more than a place of incoherent and immature ramblings of people aren’t really saying anything. But even if it gives some light for but an instant, it will have been significant.  That brief moment of luminosity will have been relevant and effective, for by it, if only as a flash, we saw things more clearly.  Perhaps we may even see things as they really are; the way they are meant to be.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. May 18, 2010 1:22 PM

    Great post Marc. I loved the part about God moving like a wind, and that we must follow hard after Him. It reminded me of something I heard once about our wanting the things we do in our lives to be blessed, asking God to bless the ventures we are a part of. Instead, if we were to just search out for the places God is already working, we would know that those things are already blessed.

    Thanks for the post :)

  2. May 19, 2010 7:21 PM

    I can identify with not wanting good things to end. And isn’t it strange that when you expand your perspective to the eternal, all ‘things’ in this world are finite. “Nations, cultures, arts, civilisations–these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat.”

    Isn’t that wild? That things as grand as words, language, art, social movements, entire civilizations have an expiration date? The truth you are naming here always boggles my mind – that WE are the point, because we are eternal, and these ‘things’ are only significant because of the mark they leave on our souls…

    Thanks for the perspective.

    (quote was C.S.L., “The Weight of Glory”)

  3. Marc Wallis permalink
    May 20, 2010 1:07 AM

    thank you for summing up my thoughts more concisely than I ever could have

  4. Jeremiah Kim permalink
    June 8, 2010 9:32 AM

    I really resonated with this.
    In a world that’s driven by productivity and efficiency, the decisions that I make are colored by what will “last” – what will give me the best bang for my buck. Whether its my money, time, physical or emotional presence, I constantly make decisions based on what I think will reap the largest dividends, when in fact that’s often out of my control to begin with. Great insight. Thanks for your thoughtfulness.

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