Dead Poet’s Society haunted me. The image of Robin Williams urging the boys in his class to acknowledge their inevitable destination as worm food and begging them to heed Thoreau’s advice and suck the marrow out of life made my heart race. It made me feel a great sense of time ticking away.
I need to Carpe the heck out of this Diem. There are places I want to see, memories I want to collect, pictures I want to take.
If we aren’t careful these can be markers of a life well-lived that if we aren’t called to them, can doom us to fail or to be an even more miserable success.
Much of this madness is driven by our compulsive fear of missing out and the need to live a life as dramatic as those you follow on social media. This bucket-list approach to life puts such pressure on these experiences that they can’t help but disappoint you even if you do experience them.
But there is a bigger problem than just the inevitable disillusionment we are destined for while trying to suck all the marrow. At its heart, the kind of thinking advocated in this movie and in our need to live awesome lives is Epicurean to the max: Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die. It only focuses on this life and completely ignores what is to come.
Focusing our attention purely on this life is what Jesus died to save us from. The resurrection opens us up to a completely different way to be human. Paul didn’t comfort himself in trial by saying, “I am going through suffering now, but eventually I will get out of this jail cell and taste the pasta they serve next door to the Colosseum.” In fact, he said we should live this way only if the resurrection didn’t actually happen: “If the dead do not rise, ‘Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die!’” (1 Corinthians 15:32)
Here’s the truth that I think we need to let sink into the marrow of our bones: The more you look forward to the next world, the less you’ll need from this one.
The prophet Isaiah speaks of a day when the “mountains and the hills shall break forth into singing before you” in the new heavens and the new earth. The pressure is removed when it dawns on you that because of Jesus, Frank Sinatra’s well-abused line is actually true: The best is yet to come.
We should have the relaxed confidence of those who know God is in charge and forever is ours.
The less you need from this world, the more you can do for it, withstand pain in it and the more you can actually enjoy it.
“That you also aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you, that you may walk properly toward those who are outside, and that you may lack nothing” (1 Thessalonians 4:10–12).