In one of our Books of Wisdom, Ecclesiastes, the writer seeks to show the way of wisdom over the way of folly. He takes a look into all the places in which we try to find meaning, such as: gaining wealth, pleasure, power and the like. A recurring phrase is shared throughout the book that when the pursuit was realized, it was all meaningless, a chasing after the wind.
While some have read the book in a negative light, I believe the writer’s reflection is the realization that we only find meaning through God. In one section, it speaks to the issue of power and advancement. In a society where upward mobility is viewed as one of the highest ‘good’ to attain, he warns that this can often become meaningless and a chasing after the wind.
He uses the example of a king and a young man. He writes, Better poor but wise youth than an old but foolish king who no longer knows how to take warning (set in his ways!). The youth may have come from prison to the kingship, or he may have been born in poverty within his kingdom. I saw that all who lived and walked under the sun followed the youth, the king’s successor. The way of wisdom, the writer infers, is not marked by power nor age. Rather, it is marked by the ones who are teachable and are able to change. The poor youth who displayed wisdom by learning, rises to be king!
There is that old slogan, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” We use that, I dare say, as a way to brush off the gift of being teachable. I fully realize that change is not everyone’s cup of tea, but through our lives, if we are open, we can continue to grow, learn and change! This has been true of all spiritual giants of our faith and I hope is true of you as well!