Wednesday, April 08, 2009

‘immortality, or the lack of it’

Lately I've been thinking of Ernest Hemingway a lot. Perhaps it was his nicknme 'Papa' that rekindled an interest for me, as Hemingway was quite unlike other 'Papa' characters I'm fond of, such as in The Shack or the kid's book, Does God Know How to Tie Shoes? (the youngster Katrina asks, "Does God ever cry, Papa?").

Hemingway in many ways stands as the complete model of self-sufficiency, and when he could no longer make the world bend to his desires he committed suicide by literally blowing his brains out with a shotgun. Perhaps his breaking down old body convinced him he would never be able to return to past glory...

In 1944 he shot & killed a young German soldier in WWII & claimed his belt buckle that Hemingway wore for the rest of his life. It was inscribed with Got Mit Uns, (God Is With Us) & also had an eagle & a swastika on it. I found it strange that Hemingway wore the buckle right up to & including the day he died especially considering that he had rebelled against much of his Christian upbringing (or should I instead say, 'religious upbringing'?!).

The final chapter of Hemingway's life is tragic. He had seen a lot of killing during his days, had participated in some of it, & had seen many relationships become estranged. Hemingway was married four times & divorced three times, & considering a fourth! He wrote to a friend late in life commenting on his fourth wife, "I wish I could leave her, I really do, but I'm too old now to afford a fourth divorce and the hell Mary would put me through." Ouch!!

“Lord help me grow up before I grow old.”

Our suffering can lead any of us into bitterness & cynicism if we let it. The alternative is to look at it like regular trips to 'God's Gym' where we allow Him to build perseverance, character, hope & love into our life. A young man who cannot cry is a savage & an old man who cannot laugh is a fool. May our end not be as tragic as Ernest's...

1 Corinthians 15:54-57
... the saying that is written will come true: "Death has been swallowed up in victory."

"Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?"

The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.


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