The Bible Project recently came out with a new series on the Wisdom books, that is, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Job. I was in London at the time, wrestling with quite a few decisions that could use some wisdom, and I thought I’d give them a try.
What I wasn’t expecting was for the video on Ecclesiastes to be one of the most comforting and encouraging things I’d seen in a while.
One of the main points the video makes is that the “meaninglessness” that Ecclesiastes often espouses isn’t exactly the best interpretation, fog, vapor or smoke being a better analogy. Basically, even though you do the best you can, we’re all still kind of stumbling around in the dark to a certain degree, and life is strange.
And in a world that seems so focused on pinning life down, whether by politics, click-bait lists, twitter mobs, self-help or more, I can hardly think of anything more comforting than that.
I think about this often, both as a writer and a Christian. For one thing, in a world where issues can be so convoluted, intertwined and polarized, it can be intimidating to join a conversation, let alone make a piece of art related to it. When you don’t want to lead someone astray spiritually by being wrong (though yes, God can definitely overcome any harm I could do), when you know just how corrupted, biased, or flat out wrong you can and likely will be, it can be even worse. I certainly know only a fraction of the darkness that still lives in me. Why would I want that out there?
But that’s also why I think I found this video so refreshing, because it reminds me just how inadequate I am to understand the vast complexities of the world around me, and the grace and humility and wonder that it forces me to recognize and receive and offer to others as a result.
There are so many things that have happened in my life that I don’t understand, so many things that I think I may never understand, and being able to admit that, both to myself, and others, is incredibly freeing.
In many ways, I think it comes down to this.
In a world obsessed with being right, I’m finally ready to admit that I am, and often will be, wrong, as a writer, as a voter, as a friend, a Christian, a sibling, etc.
As a writer, this means having the courage to put my work out there, to be humble enough to accept correction and change and to admit to the world that I’m still trying to learn and grow, as a human and a creative. It also means writing characters who are struggling and don’t know everything and have to run through the fog too. It means not preaching at people through perfect characters, but showing, exploring, asking questions and not always providing the answer.
As a Christian, well, it kind of means much the same, admitting my faults, accepting His thoughts are higher, and trusting Him for the rest. Now that doesn’t mean I intend to stop seeking knowledge or wisdom, I willingly admit I could do much against my own insecurities by simple research and engagement and we should seek knowledge and wisdom, but it does mean that I am free to admit that I’m not there yet, that there’s still work to do. I can also better trust my Heavenly Father when things are hard, when I don’t understand what’s going on inside of me, or when I don’t understand things in general.
I think the most beautiful thing about this is that it’s making me cling more to my Abba. Admitting I can’t understand His grand logic and understanding means surrendering a certain part of me, that pride of knowing (or having to know) it all, and clinging to Him and His grace alone.
So, let’s talk about it. Let’s admit we can be wrong, love with grace, and jump into the fog.
P.S. What about you? Do you find this encouraging or upsetting? Have you had similar experiences/epiphanies? Where are areas where you’ve gone into the fog, and how did you grow/learn as a result? How could you see this applying to what you do, either personally or professionally?