Thoughts Over A Cup Of Coffee

"Chasing the Wind."

January 06, 2021 Stephen Willette
Thoughts Over A Cup Of Coffee
"Chasing the Wind."
Show Notes Transcript

When I think about the title of this episode, I envision Clark Griswold and family driving around and around a traffic circle in Europe during their vacation in "National Lampoon's European Vacation."  I imagine you or I sprinting back and forth across our yards, while the neighbors watch in hysterics, and we chase after something we will never quite grasp.
Chasing after the wind is not a new concept.  It's something mankind has been doing since we first walked upon this earth.  We have been after things for thousands of years.

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Chasing the Wind

·        Last time we were together, I asked you to take part in a challenge with me.  While simple in nature, the challenge had the potential to make many of us uncomfortable.  

o   Set aside some time to engage in deliberate and meaningful conversation with a friend, family member, etc.  

o   Tune out the distractions that so easily throw us off course and take the time to not just hear someone else but listen to what they’re saying.

·        How many of you participated in this challenge with me?  

o   While I did make it a point to engage in conversation with my family more, I found myself at the end of the two weeks, realizing I could have spent more time listening.  While I found it productive, I ended with the realization that I not only wanted more, but that I needed more.

o   Some observations for me personally…

§  It was uncomfortable.  

§  I found myself at times wanting to reach for my phone out of just impulse.

§  The conversations didn’t always go as planned.

§  There was sometimes period of awkward silence.

§  I ended the day feeling as if I knew a little bit more about those I deliberately set aside time to talk with.

§  My brain felt less cluttered.

·        Scrolling through social media, as well as watching television, you will see so many people talking about how horrible this year has been.  They are so ready to get 2020 over with, and begin 2021, as if everything happening around us knows that it is supposed to change as 12:01 AM on January 1st.  

·        This year certainly has been a different sort of year.  If you think back over the past twelve months, what sticks out in your mind? 

o   Many of us don’t recall what last January or February looked like.  

o   The only thing most people will talk about in regard to this year is COVID, wearing a mask, rioting and looting across the streets of America, and the crazy presidential election.

·        What sticks out in your mind?  I think about the two things that seemed to clutter up social media and the news this past year, but I also think about many other things that happened.

o   The families and individuals I was able to meet through the use of photography.

o   Beginning this podcast adventure.

o   Spending more time at home with family.

o   Turning forty years old and feeling like I was turning the page and beginning one of the best chapters of life.

o   Finding out I am going to be a father of twins this coming year.

o   Starting college all over again.

o   Slowing down, but at the same time speeding up.

·        One thing I hear so many people say, is how much they have appreciated the time to focus back on the things that really matter.  This is so true.  A lot of us over the past many years have been going a million miles an hour in pursuit of our dreams but have left behind some things.  We didn’t intend for it to happen, but we just got so busy that it happened.

·        This year and all that it entailed forced many of us to get back to the basics.  And there’s nothing wrong with that.

·        A lot of us have been chasing the wind for years and we needed 2020 to reset and see things more clearly and through a different lens.

·        If you look up the phrase, “chasing the wind” in the Urban Dictionary, it is defined as a “task that is meaningless.  Void of purpose or virtue.  A circular path, leading to no particular destination.”  

·        “Chasing the wind” is a lot like the scene from the movie, “National Lampoon’s European Vacation.” I envision Clark Griswold and his family driving round and round in a traffic circle, going nowhere.

·        If we were to go outside on a windy day, and attempt to catch the wind, how successful would we be?  Sure, the wind will blow and then cease, but can we ever really catch it?  We can chase it all day long, but never actually be able to grasp anything of material substance to show for it.  

·        Our neighbors, gazing out their windows and watching us sprint through the yard back and forth and left and right, reaching into the air and attempting to tackle the invisible, would certainly provide them with hours of entertainment.  We might even find ourselves in the lead role of a viral YouTube or Facebook video.

·        Certainly, there are some of us who have been chasing the wind for years.  And if we were honest with ourselves and each other, we can probably admit that we’ve ended up losing more than we have gained.

·        Chasing the wind isn’t a new concept.  It’s not something that has just been brought about in modern history with jobs, the latest and greatest gadgets and gizmos, fame and notoriety, or wealth.  People from all walks of life have been chasing after the wind since mankind first walked upon this earth.  

·        King Solomon, who reigned in Israel for forty years, is known to be one of the richest men of all time.  

o   His net worth at the peak of his reign is somewhere around $2 trillion in today’s economy.

o   Solomon received approximately 25 tons of gold each year as gifts and taxation.

o   Solomon made 200 large shields of gold, each of them weighing about fifteen pounds, as well as 300 shields of gold, weighing almost four pounds each.

o   Solomon had a throne made of ivory and overlaid with only the finest of gold.  No throne in any other kingdom compared to the throne of Solomon.

o   Every cup that belonged to King Solomon was made of pure gold.

o   Additionally, Solomon had:

§  1,400 chariots

§  12,000 horsemen

§  Wisdom like no other ruler at that time

§  700 wives

§  300 concubines (makes me wonder if he was so wise, why in the world did he have so many women in his life!)

·        Solomon had it all!  Wealth, power, women, notoriety, wisdom, and material possessions!  But Solomon was chasing the wind.

·        In regard to his wisdom, King Solomon writes in Ecclesiastes 1:16-18, “I said in my heart, ‘I have acquired great wisdom, surpassing all who were over Jerusalem before me, and my heart has had great experience of wisdom and knowledge.’ And I applied my heart to know wisdom and to know madness and folly.  I perceived that this also is but striving after wind.  For in much wisdom is much vexation (or frustration), and he who increases knowledge increases sorrow.

·        Speaking of his self-indulgence, Solomon writes in Ecclesiastes 2:9-11, “So I became great and surpassed all who were before me in Jerusalem.  Also, my wisdom remained with me.  And whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them.  I kept my heart from no pleasure, for my heart found pleasure in all my toil (or exhausting physical labor), and this was my reward for all my toil.  Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had expended in doing it, and behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun.”

·        Whatever Solomon wanted he had.  There was no such thing as “saving up for it,” or having to wait for it.  If he looked at something and desired it, whether material possessions or sexual desires, it wasn’t kept from him.  For all his hard work, the ability to have anything he wanted was his reward.

·        Don’t we all know someone in our lives who strives for this same thing?  Don’t we all know someone, or maybe even ourselves, who has said at one point in time, “I want to work until I have enough money to want for nothing.  If I want something, I want to have the means to get it.”

·        But what does it all amount to?  To one of the richest men to ever walk the face of the earth, it all amounted to even more frustration and vanity (or uselessness).

·        Lastly, what does Solomon have to say about all his hard work?  In Ecclesiastes 2:18-23, he writes, “I hated all my toil in which I toil under the sun, seeing that I must leave it to the man who will come after me, and who knows whether he will be wise or a fool?  Yet he will be master of all for which I toiled and used my wisdom under the sun.  This also is vanity.  So I turned about and gave my heart up to despair over all the toil of my labors under the sun, because sometimes a person who has toiled with wisdom and knowledge and skill must leave everything to be enjoyed by someone who did not toil for it.  This is also vanity and a great evil.  What has a man from all the toil and striving of heart with which he toils beneath the sun?  For all his days are full of sorrow, and his work is a vexation.  Even in the night his heart does not rest.  This also is vanity.”

·        Solomon was grieved because he came to the realization that all he worked for in life, and the riches that surrounded him at the end of his life, would be passed on to someone else that may squander it all.  At the end of the day, he realized, he couldn’t take it with him.  None of it mattered.

·        Here we have this man who has worked hard, has risen to a place of stature above anyone else in the world during his time in terms of wealth and wisdom, is surrounded by women, is able to immediately have whatever his heart desires, but yet he says clearly over and over that it all amounts to nothing.  

·        Solomon had it all, but he was chasing the wind.

·        How many of us, even after all this year has brought us, are still chasing after the wind?  Chasing after something that we will never really be able to get our arms around and grasp tightly?  And even if we could grab a hold of it, seize it and place it in a jar upon a shelf within our home, how many of us would realize much like Solomon did and so many others throughout history, that it all was in vain?

·        So while 2020 has certainly brought some difficulties and has changed the way we see so much, I hope it has caused many to stop going round and round like Clark Griswold, in a traffic circle that leads nowhere.  

·        I hope 2020 has caused some to look at those things that are important, slow down a bit, and truly count the cost.

 

·      As always, I appreciate you taking the time to listen.  While I do try and publish a new episode on a regular basis, I don’t want to post content that is meaningless and irrelevant.  

·      I’m always interested in any feedback you may have.  I’m also looking for future guests to be on a show and discuss what’s important to you.  Feel free to shoot me a message at [email protected], or look me up on FB and send me a message there.

·      Thank you again, I hope each of you have a wonderful and merry Christmas!