Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Requiem for a dream

Sorry to steal the title from a movie. The movie is OK, but it is very graphic and depressing. When I first saw the movie, I didn't realize what a requiem was. Dictionary.com defines a requiem as a mass for a deceased person, or a musical composition for the dead. In other words, the movie is about the dreams of a bunch of different people and how they died (the dreams first, and henceforth the people).

The scriptures tell us that "where there is no vision, the people perish." People tend to live and die by their dreams--their goals. Perhaps these goals are high noble undertakings, or perhaps they are very specific, low level things. Most people have some of all kinds of goals. Its like how they always ask you where you want to be in 5 years, 10 years, etc. Usually people have somewhere they would like to be tomorrow, next weekend, and so on. Eventually, this will get to the level of the reason people keep on "chugging" in life. In the end, you must answer the question "why do I exist?" For what purpose was I placed here? Is there actually a purpose or is it all by chance?

These high level questions have been examined throughout the ages, and it is not my purpose to examine them now. I'm reasonably sure what I'm ultimately here for; I'm also reasonably sure where I want to be next weekend. It's all those pesky in between goals that have died. What do you do when you just don't care where you are in 5, 10, or 20 years? I guess I've never been without these goals before to have an answer.

When you loose sight of the big goals in life you can have a nice soul searching session and make some hard decisions. As a Nihilist you can demonstrate the vanity of life in everything; as a Christian you can live to the glory of God. What happens when these high level goals can no longer be translated into more reachable day-to-day activities? It seems as if death is the only thing to look forward to anymore; it is all that is left. It is nice to think that "what we do in life, echoes in eternity," but in the end all we are is "shadows and dust." Didn't Job have it right? "Man who is born of woman is of few days and full of trouble. He comes forth like a flower and fades away; He flees like a shadow and does not continue." Or David? "As for man, his days are like grass; as a flower of the field, so he flourishes. For the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more."

What happens when at the beginning of the race, I already wish I could say with Paul "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith?"


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