Those who know me understand my prolific love for bacon. There’s something about its crispy, smoky goodness and way it leaves grease on your fingers that makes it so delectable. But it goes beyond that for me. There’s an experience with bacon that actually resonates. I know this already sounds weird, but stay with me.
My love for bacon is matched by a few things. As you can infer from the content of this blog, music is one, digging trenches into the human condition, contemplating God, and friends are others. For me, a fourth one is the Biblical wisdom literature – Job, Psalms, Ecclesiastes, Proverbs, and Song of Songs.
Ecclesiastes is hands down my favorite book in the Bible. Archeological analysis of syntax, literary style, and context suggest that this book is written by King Solomon – one of the few kings in the Israelite monarchy that actually does something right. Aloe Blacc wrote songs like, “The Man” after men like Solomon. He had everything a guy could ever want – good looks, charisma, military power, cash money, women, and more notably, wisdom. Solomon was this contemplative sage who built a dynasty over 40 years in 1st Kings that left this Biblical legacy which goes all the way to the teachings of Christ in the book of Matthew.
Ecclesiastes is also considered one of the darkest books in the Bible. It begins in Chapter one, verse one with the words, “Everything is meaningless.” It’s also translated as, “Life is vanity.” It’s kind of the theme of the book. Solomon takes 12 chapters to talk about how he was the man and that it all meant nothing in the end. Furthermore, it meant nothing at the time without the understanding that all good comes from God. It kind of reminds me of the lurid montra, “Life sucks and then you die.”
When you really dig into the text, you find something beautiful amongst the despair. Particularly in chapters 7 through 9, you find that the end of each maxim of vanity is tied off by a reminder to live and enjoy the good things while you can. Work hard, earn your keep, pray, and enjoy the simple things while you are on this Earth.
Reading those vignettes within Ecclesiastes helped change my outlook on life, the way I pray, and how God plays a role in the small things.
So, what do bacon and Ecclesiastes have in common?
Chapter 8, verse 15. “So I commend the enjoyment of life, for there is nothing better for a man to do than to eat, drink and be merry. Then joy will accompany them in their toil all the days of the life God has given them under the sun.”
This passage talks about how life will no go your way. Contextually, someone else will get that promotion, your car is going to eventually break down in the middle of traffic on a morning where you have somewhere to be, friends may become estranged, there will be times when the bad guys win, the good guys lose, and you will grieve. So what do you do about it? My remedy is get a bunch of guys over, play football, duel in Mario Party 3, and eat bacon.
Small things like guy nights, good walks, driving with the windows down, music cranked, and boisterous laughter are all things that I cherish maybe more than the average person. In the last two years, I have begun to see those things as gifts from God that I get to enjoy. For a moment when life is overwhelming, I open a fresh package of bacon and remember that there are things to be celebrated. I’m still moving, still breathing, and the suffering is temporary (even though it’s sometimes hard to convince myself otherwise).
Find your bacon. What do you do for fun? How do you unwind? Set the laptop and homework down and crack open a cold beer. Eat something you like. Watch a comedy or turn on the game. Read a good book. Get some friends together and play full contact Pictionary (random, but fun). Hop on your bike. The next time you do those things, think about how God has come through once again. You’re still moving.