I hope this vapor leaves a fragrance and not a stench
by Tim Kegley
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The older I get, the older I get.
I wish I could turn back time, put on a Cher record (I'm kidding...never liked Cher), and actually take off my shirt in front of the mirror without wincing. I have gained boobage, and not the pretty augmented kind.
I've also started to notice how harder it is to get out of bed in the morning.
It was a few years ago that I gave up my rock and roll and cut all my long hair off. (The mullet just wasn't going to come back) A few years later than that, I REALLY gave up my rock and roll and shaved my head.
I've still got a rock and roll heart, which I check occasionally. But lately there has been some disagreement between my heart and my lungs, meaning the faster my heart beats, the slower my lungs work. I think they've conspired against me.
Now I'm not soon for the walker or the wheelchair, with a blanket covering my legs that some old woman knitted because she liked how Ben Gay smelled on me. Nor have I even thought about buying that hole in the ground. I do, however, think that I'll make one goofy looking, tall old guy.
MAGNIFICATION AND REDUCTION
The bible has a way of magnifying man's importance and reducing it.
Such ego boosting phrases such as "Fearfully and wonderfully made" and "Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you" makes one sit up straight in his highchair and dribble obstinately.
Then there is "What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?"
Our response to such reduction...
"WELL, I NEVER... Don't you know who I am? I'm the loudest baby in this romper room. This playpen is blessed to be stained with my drool, snot, and....stuff... Look I'm wearing designer diapers."
A HEAVENLY SMIRK, AND A HEAVENLY "TSK, TSK, TSK"
You see, I think God views this earthly conglomeration of noises as just clatter coming from a playground in the cosmos. Noises made by little bitty ego-maniacal ants that at times elicits a sigh from within the pearly gates.
If not a sigh then a smirk.
When an atheist takes out his pacifier, drools, poots, and then talks his baby talk; God just folds His arms, shakes His head, and "tsks" him.
It's the first stage of divine laughing...not pleasant laughing though.
What we know and what we think we know can be fit into the tip of the "nipple" on the "bottle", whilst what we really DON'T know not only fills the rest of the "bottle" but fills up the "sandbox" also. But we like sucking on the tip of what we think we know. It satisfies our ego.
There has been a great debate in Christian history concerning paedo-baptism, or the baptizing of babies. The truth is that EVERYONE who is baptized is baptized a whiny, sniveling, self saturated...baby.
Considering God's exhaustive knowledge as the barometer of knowledge we can only come to the conclusion that our existence AND our knowledge is the equivalent of the nursery room on a Sunday morning.
Then there's the smell...
OOH OOH THAT SMELL
(Never thought I'd reference a Lynyrd Skynyrd song)
I wonder about the reason for roses on a grave. Something beautiful plucked to honor something beautiful plucked. Or is it irony? Roses, which are a sign for many things while living (weddings, love), are lain over the "laid to rest", to commemorate that which is no longer...living.
Or maybe...it's a juxtaposition between what smells good and what doesn't.
By now, I've gone from the romper room smells to the smells that lie underneath our last garden. But to talk about the stench of such is but an illustration for just how small, in time, space and consequence, this existence really is.
James 4: 13 Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit."
14 Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away"
James' intent is to demonstrate how short and inconsequential life is.
Little babies in the nursery, clamoring for cosmic attention, even demanding it, when all the while..."gaa gaa goo goo."
But soon this vapor will....whiff...away.... Here...and then....gone.
All that's left is the smell...
A life well lived leaves a sweet fragrance, as if it hangs in the air for loved ones which, even through the anguish caused by death, flavors their grief.
Some vapors leave great fragrances which last long after death. Such as the apostle Paul. Or lives lived in great sacrifice and danger such as Martin Luther King Jr. There are plenty whose death has caused a sweet smell to permeate the collective conscience.
And there have been plenty whose vapor still sickens the stomach.
We should strive to leave behind a gentle comforting fragrance that is pleasing to God and to those we leave behind.
As for me...I want to leave behind the smell of a pizza...and Dr. Pepper.
Does Dr. Pepper have a smell?
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