If you’re a writer, a gen Xer, or just familiar with the book of Ecclesiastes, you’ve had this thought: It’s all been done. You know that one? There’s absolutely nothing new I could ever hope to contribute to the world. The snarky realization comes in all kinds of existential flavors and strengths. I’ve had near-panic attacks dwelling on it, like my free will was being revoked, shouting into the abyss: “What’s the point of living if it’s all been done? At times, the idea still stops me up like a rum-soaked fruitcake (Sorry. Bad image.):
“The very thing I want doesn’t actually exist.”
Of course, it’s just the human stain talking. I know the truth: that the best thing you could ever find in life isn’t really here at all. And it isn’t so hard to find if you just act on the right belief.
But there are times when you just don’t feel that answer’s enough. And then where does that leave you? Ultimately, you’re still going to have to sacrifice your life for what you’re hoping to find. Either way, you’ll have to live on faith.
This became very clear recently as I reflected on a little indy film called Me and You and Everyone We Know. I’m not endorsing the movie. Really. This is NOT a recommendation. But as a case in point for how badly the world needs a savior, there’s much to appreciate here. One character says she’s looking for something that couldn’t have existed before the digital age. Somehow, I think this is a key to understanding the film because it’s also the digital age that has introduced the characters to their inescapable separation, made them lonely, sick and twisted, longing for the simple connections of a lost era. And they’re all heart-wrenching case studies: each has seen too much to escape untwisted.
Another recent film example I can’t recommend: The Door in the Floor. Like the tree in the garden or Pandora’s box, once you’ve seen, you can’t go back. Some thoughts mix in and change our composition. And once you’re there, unless you have a greater purpose, all the suffering in the world becomes justifiable for the hope of finding what hasn’t existed before. Even if it’s something so horrible you can’t imagine it yet. And so by default, this becomes the great new hope of our digital age: reveling in our human stain. Finding company in the misery that runs through us all. This is how we escape the doom.
And while this is truly a terrible reality to realize we’re in, what bothers me most is that it seems many Christians are buying into this insatiable evil just as innocently. One of my great fears with this blog is that in looking for writing that goes beyond the standard second-rate Christian knock-offs, I’ll miscommunicate that I’m endorsing we write Eminem all cleaned up spiffy for CBA. When I talk about our writing being for a greater purpose, I mean it’s a completely different entity. Is appropriating the world’s diseased offerings justifiable if it earns their attention? We’re not even of their world. Stop trying to fake it.
We need to fight the flesh together for the greater realization that there is a real hope beyond our human disease. And far from reveling in it, our words must cure it with our undiluted sighs for the kingdom.