Once upon a time in a town far, far away, I was extremely bored.
I’m not easily bored, usually only when held captive. On this occasion I was being forced; against my will, to sit in a church and witness a ‘happy couple’ say supposedly meaningful words to each other. In fact, I was so bored that I actually picked up The Bible propped up hopefully on the little shelf the pew in front always has.
Picking up ‘the good book’ is not something that I’ve done often in my life, bludgeoned a few hotel flies with the odd copy and that’s about it; so I’m thinking that this must have been before smart-phones had been invented. Or maybe I was worried about looking rude staring into the screen of dreams.
Anyway, I happened to open The Bible on a page and started reading. What I read there was possibly one of the bleakest things I have ever read. The words made a bit of a farce of the wedding, and possibly all of existence. I was quite moved by its poetry, however, and really quite surprised by it’s timelessness.
Although on first read I wasn’t entirely sure I agreed with all of it, it made me question the idea of being remembered. Even if we know a name from history, however ‘famous’ they may have been, we never really know anything about them. Not really. Our own memories, thoughts and life are soon gone, forgotten and scattered ‘dust to dust’. No one ever truly knows another whilst they are alive, fat chance once they’ve pegged it.
It took me a few years to track this passage down as I forgot to memorise the location; and as it turns out there are lots of different flavours of Bible.
Here it is. ‘Enjoy’.
What does man gain from all his labor
at which he toils under the sun?
Generations come and generations go,
but the earth remains forever.
The sun rises and the sun sets,
and hurries back to where it rises.
The wind blows to the south
and turns to the north;
round and round it goes,
ever returning on its course.
All streams flow into the sea,
yet the sea is never full.
To the place the streams come from,
there they return again.
All things are wearisome,
more than one can say.
The eye never has enough of seeing,
nor the ear its fill of hearing.
What has been will be again,
what has been done will be done again;
there is nothing new under the sun.
Is there anything of which one can say,
“Look! This is something new”?
It was here already, long ago;
it was here before our time.
There is no remembrance of men of old,
and even those who are yet to come
will not be remembered
by those who follow.