Death-by-Living-e1375235818221N. D. Wilson:

Your life will contribute to a grand and wonderful story no matter what you do.

You have been spoken. You are here, existing, choosing, living, shaping the future and carving the past. Your physical matter and your soul exist, not out of necessity, not voluntarily, and not under their own strength. There is absolutely nothing that you or I can do to guarantee that we will continue to exist. You aren’t doing anything that makes you be.

We aren’t the Author. You and I are spoken.

We have been called into this art as characters, born into this thread of occurrence tumbling downstream in the long Niagara of loss set in motion by the trouble that faced our first father and first mother.

We will contribute to the narrative. But how? Would you like to be an orc? A ghoul? Plenty of people are.

How about Gollum? He got a fair amount of screen time.

Would you like to be Adam, dooming your descendants with the thunder of your own folly? Would you like to be Eve, the first to welcome darkness into your home, the first to embrace the biggest lie?

Here we are, with our feet on a path given to us at our births. Born to trouble.

The prophet Jeremiah wished that he had never been born. Solomon, the richest, wisest, most thoroughly married man in history, said that our lives are but vapor, that our days are full of sorrow, and that while greater knowledge is a greater burden, we should still get wisdom. We should grow, knowing that our burden will grow with us. In Ecclesiastes, Solomon faces the Whirlwind. Where Job stood in loss, Solomon stands in plenty. Both stare at the tininess of troubled man, both face the massiveness of the transcendent Artist.