No one tells you that things get so busy in your 40s that you feel like you just have your head down and you’re running all the time. I feel like my life is on fast forward. It’s shocking how fast it goes. I’m 42 now─I’m wearing glasses now! Not sunglasses. Real glasses. I’m just falling apart.
Happy 44th birthday Christopher Eugene “Chris” O'Donnell (June 26, 1970)
In a crowded city street, filled with the smell of untasted foods and the shouts of foreign tongues, walks a man seeking answers. Dust fills the air from the shuffle of sandaled feet and traded goods as our man pushes his way through the crowd. Finally, he finds what he is looking for: overlooking the city like a mountain in the sea soars the great rock of Wisdom. Here thinkers and philosophers from every corner of the province, even the world, come to share their knowledge. Here inquisitive minds and lost souls like himself come from every academic building and dark corner seeking the same end, truth. The man takes his time with each speaker, he will not leave until he has found what he is looking for, spending a few minutes heeding their words and then moving on. It is a buffet of knowledge, truly a sight to see. But our man does not want a sampler platter, he wants the main dish.
Two voices in particular catch his ear. Two voices distinct and very different yet uniquely both real and optimistic. One calls himself an Existentialist. He has a humble confidence about him, a smirk on his face and a twinkle in his eye. He says that there is no God and life if is anguish, abandonment, and despair. The brutal honestly struck and intrigued our man, his life was not in good condition and he could relate to such a sentiment. The Existentialist says that we are in anguish because without God all of our decisions shape the mold by which we are claiming all men ought to live. On every action we bear the responsibility of the future of mankind. We are abandoned because there is no God and with his absence no divine hope; man is the only future of man. But now man has all the future ahead of him, mankind will be what we make of him and the future can contain great possibility. We are in despair, however, because the future is not where we live. We must live within the realm of possibility and no matter our actions, mankind could always go the other way. Mankind is desperately, inexorably, positively condemned to be free.
Our man feels the weight of the speaker’s pronouncement but feels an excitement at them as well. There is a rush at the thought of pure freedom and a pride in the power of participating in controlling and shaping the future of mankind. But as he continues to ponder and the existentialist trails on, another voice enters his mind. It is the voice of the other man, also with a confident humility but also an air of nobility like he hadn’t felt since as a dream. He called himself an Evangelist. He claimed the revelation of an unknown creator God and proclaimed repentance for the worship of idols and other sins. He spoke of a Kingdom not of this world and King yet to return. He spoke of a Spirit of Power and the resurrection of the dead. Anguish, abandonment, and despair were put to death, he said, and were replaced with joy, sonship, and hope. There was a spark of fire in his eyes and a whisper of magic in his breath.
Our man found a new excitement of different kind with these words. He remembered the words of the Existentialist. Would he believe the burden of defining himself and man in a world without God? Would he believe in a God that reveals himself and call us sons? Surely the world is much too cold for all that, surely the Christian is a hopeless optimist. Just then, the words of the Evangelist spoke the words of his so called messiah, “Come to me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Our man had come here with a burden looking for release, he did not want to add another. Slowly he approached the Evangelist. After that day he carried a burden no more.