If you are looking for my blog titled, The Contemplative Catholic Convert, you are at the right spot.

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Tragic Mistake

I built houses for myself, I planted vineyards for myself; I made gardens and parks for myself . . . I collected for myself silver and gold and the treasure of kings and provinces. I provided for myself male and female singers and the pleasures of men--many concubines . . . All that my eyes desired I did not refuse them . . . and behold all was vanity and striving after wind . . . . (Ecclesiastes 2:4-11)

Joel was only 45 when he died. I remember thinking he had what many men only dream of having: a loving wife and family, a good job, and well-liked in his community.
And yet, on a Tuesday evening after work he put a gun to his head -- and pulled the trigger.

In the few years I'd known him, he had the outward appearance of happiness. But outward appearances often belie the emptiness of the heart.

I wonder if long before the bullet shattered his skull, Joel had emptied his heart of what he'd learned as a child of God's love. As he grew older, did he try to fill that emptiness with things that promised fulfillment . . . things that ultimately left him empty?

To this day, no one knows why Joel took his life that Tuesday. But I wonder if, like Solomon, he realized wealth, position, and reputation are not enough to fill the God-created void St. Augustine spoke of in his Confessions: "Thou hast made us for thyself, and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in Thee."

Who is not tempted at times to misorder life’s priorities, to choose the seductive allure of popularity, position or wealth to the sacrifices God requires of time, wealth and talent -- and not infrequently -- friendships, freedom, or even our very lives?

Decisions like that never occur overnight. They begin, and are nurtured, at the heart’s altar where, in time, they blossom into a mind-set of faith or faithlessness, trust or scorn, obedience or rebellion.

Turning from God's call on our lives doesn’t mean we’ll end up putting a gun to our head. But I’ve seen so often the results of running from Him, I think it’s a spiritual law: Those who persist in choosing their will over God’s reach the same conclusion Solomon reached before his conversion: “Vanity of vanities. All is vanity” (Ecclesiastes 1:2).

What a tragic mistake it is to end a life like that.


Cleopatra said...

It is truly a sad thing. It makes me want to cry when someone I care about and even in this case, Joel, lose sight of God's wonderfulness.

I do know it's hard, though. Life's issues can come on strong and when we start feeling like we aren't getting what we deserve, that old nasty flesh or ours rears it's ugly head with the devil egging it on and BOOM!!! We've fallen a long ways from God.

Sometimes, people recover and they seem to have a new found appreciation for life in God and the peace it gives. I know I do.

But there are the sad times where people keep going down that path where only death and destruction lie, though they really want to turn back, they either think they're unworthy, want the desires of their flesh too much or have been spun around so much by the enemy that they can't even see straight.

I pray today that those who have lost their way and backsliden will hear the call of the Father today. He is calling out to His lost sheep and wishes to bring them back home. May the Prodigal Sons & Daughters finally see their messed up situation and realize that better it is to be a servant in their Father's house than a slave to sin. Then they'll see the Father run towards them with outstretched arms and putting on a feast because that which was lost is found.

Thank you Father, in Jesus' name, Amen.

Richard Maffeo said...

and Amen.