A few months ago, I took a drive to the home I grew up in, located in a town along the midsection of Galveston Bay. It’s the center of my formative memories. The house was a few hundred yards from the bay, and my memories of it, though still sharp, fade a bit with each passing year.
It’s not there anymore. Neither is the chinaberry tree I spent hours in, neither the brick entryway gates, neither the back yard, neither anything else. It’s all gone, except for a slab.
It had already been changing: the new owners had relocated the driveway and modified several other features of the property. But in 2008, Hurricane Ike leveled everything and carried it out to sea.
What does this mean? Frankly, it means nothing if everything is in a state of becoming—if there is no state of being, nothing that gives permanence, nothing that grounds our existence. There are those who purport to believe this.
It means, then, that my formative memories are grounded only in temporality. They are only as real, lasting, and meaningful as the medium that holds them, and the media that holds them—the physical location, the photograph, the diary, my brain—are all fading away. They will all cease to exist. They will all be carried out to sea. Vanity of vanities…all is vanity.
Have I ever done a good deed? Have I ever committed a sin? When this earth is carried out to the dark and cold sea of the universe, they will cease to exist. Meaningless. Ungrounded. Without purpose. No wonder Solomon’s experience became Ecclesiastes.
Worse by far, the father I had in that home is gone as well.
Yet, there is another way. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
My life, my memories, my deeds, both good and ill, my departed loved ones, are not cast out upon the waves; they are grounded in the eternal I AM who does not change like shifting shadows. He is the rock which no wave can move or erode; the firm foundation upon which hope, purpose, and meaning are certain. A medium which cannot fade away, nor can moth, rust, or thief destroy. In fact, He controls the very wind and waves, and the sea itself. What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?
One that holds the world in his hands. One that ensures that all is not vanity, and that I have not lived in vain. My strong tower, refuge, and home that cannot be carried to sea.
These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.
Contributed by MS Quixote, neighborhood cowboy philosopher and general charognard