Ecclesiastes

By Anna Delamerced, MD'21



I was thinking about both the brevity of life and the permanence of eternity. How does one enjoy life while still holding things loosely here on earth? How can one look forward to the future and stay present in the moment? Are there things that will last forever? This short poem was born out of wrestling with these questions. I used several images to try to evoke a sense of the fragility of life, such as “glass jars”, “wrinkles,” and “crystal”. I also tried to portray moments of joy, such as spending time with loved ones. The image of capturing the aroma of peaches into glass jars was also a metaphor for how we try to capture things that are fleeting. And yet, I also think we all yearn for significance and things everlasting. There is more to life than what we see in front of us.


As we continue to live under pandemic times, maybe our eyes are being opened to things we had clung onto, only to realize that they were not lasting. Perhaps we’ve all been “chasing after the wind” (Ecclesiastes 1:14) in various ways, whether it’s careers, relationships, or appearances, among others. During this time, many of us have also grieved over loss and pain – from death in the hospitals, to injustice on the streets of our cities. We cry out to God, Where are you? When will this end? Is there something more? More beautiful, without suffering, forever?


The Book of Ecclesiastes says God has “set eternity in the human heart” (Ecclesiastes 3:11). If God has put this in our hearts, I believe he will fulfill it. As we yearn for something more than the here-and-now, may we lift our eyes upward. May we find that “this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent” (John 17:3).

 

This piece was written as part of Cornerstone's summer writing initiative on the topic of suffering and hope.

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