Thursday, August 16, 2012

Scents: Incense & Nonsense

Ecclesiastes 1:8b

...the eye is not satisfied with seeing,
nor the ear filled with hearing.

"Nor the nose filled with smelling." (Ok, I added that last part to help the pun in the subject line go even further, but the principle holds true).  But the point is this:

When is enough enough?

We can get tired of looking at something beautiful, sick of eating something tasty, annoyed at hearing a song we like, set on edge by being a touch we at first enjoyed, and irritated by a smell in which we originally delighted.  This proverb in particular, however, is not communicating that people grow weary of things they like, the rest of the book will communicate that clearly enough.

This is saying that our ear is never full of sweet sounds.  It never fills up per se. We will never tire of someone else singing our praises. We welcome either new songs of praise or new members to the choir as long as they are singing the sweet sounds of myself.

Pornography is an addiction because a man's eyes never fill up with images enough that more images are not required.  Porn addicts rarely watch "a" pornographic film and survive on the memories of it alone.

Women who love beautiful things, decorating, antiquing, and the like peruse websites and obtain subscriptions to magazines that routinely show them the best of what is the most beautiful at the moment, yet rarely does a woman read one magazine over and over and find satisfaction in saturating themselves with only that issue.

The eyes are never satisfied with having seen beauty once and the ears are never full of sound so that they could not hear anymore.  There is no end to seeing or hearing.  They botth could be done forever and are endless in their potential.

There is, by contrast, only so much water you can fit into a cup and only so much food you can physically fit into a stomach ( have you noticed the "all you CAN eat" signs have now been changed to "all you care to eat"?).  There are limitations to these things.  But our souls are expansive.  They are robust.

You could try to fill your eyes with images daily and never have so much as to eclipse your ability to view more.  You may get tired of looking at something for a season just as you may get tired of eating cheesecake, but there is always room for more beauty in our eyes and only limited room available for cheesecake (although admittedly a lot of room can be forcibly be made for cheesecake by sheer will power).

Pursuing the delights of your eyes and the sweetness of sounds are fine for what they are, but they will never fill up because they were not created to do so.

This is not another "God-shaped hole in your heart" argument.  You are not a puzzle missing one piece.  You are not one sandwich short of a picnic.  You are a vacuum and only God's expansive bounty can fill the cravings of your soul.   We like to look at stuff and listen to other stuff, but oh the vanity of chasing yet another beautiful thing, another sweet sound, another tasty sensation, another pleasurable touch for its sake alone. 

It NEVER ends.  NEVER.  It is never satisfied.  It cannot be.

Ecclesiastes points us past these endeavors for which we usually settle: 

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