Have You ever been in a situation where something is done or said and everyone has a sense of “now that was uncomfortable”? In general, we don’t like the situations where we are uncomfortable or awkward, we like our situations to be pleasing, calming and enjoyable. We want to be happy and not sad. However Ecc 7:1-4 seems to be suggesting that too much emotional ease is a bad thing. “The day of death is better than the day of life”, “better to go to the house of mourning than that of feasting”; “sorrow is better than laughter”.
Wow! what heavy, negative comments from the wisest man who ever lived, perhaps he should lighten up a bit! Focusing on death and sorrow can be challenging. Our society doesn’t like uncomfortable topics. We hide under or behind our wealth, our education, our jobs, our humour, our skills, the number or type of friends we have, or many other things. However, we rarely take the time to come out of our hiding to really examine life. Perhaps he is suggesting, that the evaluation of our life is important instead of hiding under or behind partying, excitement, and fun things.
Sorrow and death help to bring about the evaluation of ourselves and our priorities, if we will let it. They help us to realize how short lived our earthly treasures are or our how temporary the objects that we hide behind are.
May we value the times of sorrow and hardship as much as the times of laughter and joy. These challenging times can help us to know and to build on what is true and on what is lasting.
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