We have done our best, O God. Well, not our best. Sometimes not even a half-hearted attempt at “best.” But we have done … something … and of course it was never going to last because time is finite and people are too, but, O God! We didn’t prepare for death when it was set in motion by birth.

When we began, we thought we were wise. At times we enjoyed being foolish. It’s hard to assess which pleased us more, but we made both our satisfaction. Now this letting go—is it wise, is it foolish, is it simply how life must be? We give up our hearts to the unanswered puzzle.

We made ourselves busy from beginning to end, as we were meant to do. It helped pass the time. We ran with the stream and called it “purpose.” Now we twiddle our fingers and revisit our regrets as we wait for the next life. Who knows what the wind might bring when it comes ’round again.

Who knows what gifts we have discarded that might be picked up as treasures or tossed back into the river. We wish we could know that our goodness will be remembered and our errors forgotten, but of what use is it to envy the future? Tomorrow cannot be owned any more than yesterday.

Your work is just as mysterious now as it has always been: the sun and stars in their place, the moons and seas in their dance, the birds in flight and the harvest in season. What is our dust, what is our breath compared to these? Yet this dust and this breath have meant everything to us.

Whether it was our best, we cannot profess that it was—but it was your best, God. Yes, we are left to believe it was your divine best. This life has been good and we are thankful to have known it. Swaddle us with joy in this wisdom. Give us peaceful rest in this death.

on Ecclesiastes 1:1-11

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