“There are three things that are never satisfied,
four that never say, ‘Enough!’ …
… the grave…
She left the car, unsure of what to do next. The ground was frozen solid; covered with three feet of snow. Men in black, solemn and respectful, pulled the oak casket from the back of the hearse. Gently, they hoisted it up to their shoulders and made their way to the small building at the edge of the cemetery. She felt as though she needed to do something, say something, as her mother’s body disappeared around the corner. The funeral service was over, carried out in time-honoured fashion. But, unlike the final farewell of a graveside ceremony, there was no instruction manual for this moment as she stood in the snow by the side of the road. The body would remain in the house at the gate until Spring. Then the ground would be soft enough to dig the hole and, without fanfare, lower the casket to its final earthly resting place. To leave her mother here, between first hello and final goodbye, seemed so wrong. Three months earlier, these same men had carried her father to this same cemetery. A life full of family was now empty, frozen; as cold as the wind on that 27th day of December.
… the barren womb …
In this culture, a woman’s reason for being was to provide her husband with healthy sons. But though he might see his children as a sign of wealth, this particular woman saw this first baby-in-the-making as a safety net; her security, preserving for her a long and happy future. But now, as she lay in a state of semiconsciousness on a hospital bed, a sense of dread overwhelmed her. The doctor said that she had two choices: Bleed to death, or allow the staff to perform a hysterectomy. The first was preferable. The second would condemn her to life on the streets, useless to her husband as a producer of sons and to her parents as a marketable commodity. The only thing of value in her world was her womb. To take that was to take everything.
… land, which is never satisfied with water …
A few foolhardy shrubs and more stubborn cacti tenaciously clung to life on the cracked, dry surface of the desert. The heat bounced from the rock-hard earth sending shimmering waves rolling back up into the air. But there was hope. On the horizon black clouds were gathering, harbingers of good news. Lightning flashed and a distant rumble grew closer. A snake sunning himself on a rock slithered away shivering as the sun disappeared. A drop of water fell, stirring the dust. Then another. Warning shots fired, the heavens opened and the horizon disappeared behind a barrage of water. The fury of the storm passed quickly and the sun soon reappeared. By the time the snake returned to his spot on the rock there was no fear that he would get his feet wet; if he had had any. The pores of the earth had greedily sucked up every molecule of moisture. Like magic, the cracks appeared once more in the desert floor as though nothing had happened.
… and fire …
The bush was tinder-dry, but no one noticed. A dry spring made hunting for gold a simpler task. The Porcupine Camp was a rough-and-tumble place made up of tarpaper shacks, tents and slapped together wooden structures with glorified fronts that belied their real worth. There were no sidewalks. Rain would simply turn the streets into a foot sucking morass. Pavement and stucco were for later, when all the claims had been staked. But as weary miners collapsed, exhausted, onto their blankets a little spark, previously unheeded, ignited the forest. Within hours the blaze was out of control, and within days it had consumed the camp and everything in it. Those who could, escaped by whatever means possible, some even seeking refuge in the lakes and rivers. Temporary took on a new and nasty, reality.
… which never says, “Enough!”*
Sometimes abundance isn’t sufficient. There remain unchangeable elements that can never be satisfied. Their cup is never full; never overflows, at least not in the here and now. But what about in the hereafter? The Apostle John writes: “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”* Eternity, thank God, cries “enough”.
*Proverbs 30:15, 16; Revelation 21:4 (NIV)
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