We are all going to die or as John Ortberg puts it, “Old Man Wrinkle is coming for everybody.” Ortberg has a unique way of reminding us of that fact and adding a twist or two in his book, “When The Game Is Over It All Goes Back In The Box.” That is one of the best titles for a book I have seen and contains a bookish weapon we can all use daily.
The title is a reminder that while we play this game, winning and losing at times, when it is all over all the pieces and the board go back in the box. It could be that the “box” is a coffin.”
“The reality of this world is that I was born into Someone Else’s kingdom. My life came to me as a gift I did not choose; it is suspended from a slender thread that I did not weave and cannot on my own sustain.”
Here is a meditation Ortberg quotes:
I am of the nature to grow old. There is no way to escape growing old.
I am of the nature to have ill health. There is no way to escape ill health.
I am of the nature to die. There is no way to escape death.
All that is dear to me and everyone I love are of the nature to change. There is no way to escape being separated from them.
My actions are my only true belongings. I cannot escape the consequences of my actions. My actions are the ground upon which I stand.
Then he says Jesus added one more to this: “I am a ceaseless being with an eternal destiny in God’s great universe.”
He also adds this much needed quote from Bernie Siegle:
“I’ve done the research and I hate to tell you, but everybody dies – lovers, joggers, vegetarians and non-smokers. I’m telling you this so that some of you who jog at 5:00 AM and eat vegetables will occasionally sleep late and have an ice cream cone.”
A vacuum cleaner is built to clean. A knife to cut. Ortberg says, “We are built for meaning the way Porsches are built for speed.” He goes on to discuss how all of us have what Martin Seligman calls “signature strengths.” And of course goes on to encourage us to use our signature strengths in the service of something larger than ourselves.
You are most likely familiar with the book “Mans Search for Meaning” where Victor Frankl points out that we can put up with anything if we have a big enough why. We can find meaning in even the worst circumstances.