Updated: Aug 6, 2021
In spite of all the faith messages, promises of God and spiritual pep talks there are times when I feel that I can barely keep my head above water. It’s not the kind of full-blown depression that wants to close the drapes, turn off the lights and sleep forever but more like a low-grade depression and sense of emptiness. It is that deep awareness that you have been there and done that and when all is said and done it is the same as Solomon concluded long ago, “Vanities of vanities says the preacher; all is vanity.
I have come to beleive that the condition I am referring to is "World Weariness". Nothing so characterizes my feelings at this stage of my life as being world weary. The older I get, the more world weary I become. Like the refrain from the old hymn says, “And I don’t feel at home in this old world anymore." The world no longer appeals to me. It has lost its glitter and its glamour. I am long past the point where I am infatuated with its charms or seduced by its enchantments. The naïve illusions of youth have long faded. I am an alien, a foreigner, an outcast, a refugee and a pilgrim. I’m a stranger in a strange land.
But when I find myself in these seasons of emptiness and futility, I soon realize that I am simply following in the well-worn footsteps of many who have gone before me. I’m following in the pioneering steps of Father Abraham who obeyed the call of God, left the comfortable security of his familiar surroundings and set forth to find a heavenly city even though he didn’t know “where he was going.” - (Hebrews 11:8) He was “in the world but not of the world.” “By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country.” While he sojourned there “he waited for the city ...whose builder and maker is God.” - (Hebrews 11:9 &10)
The older I get, the more acutely aware I become of how dislocated I am in this present world. I have grown progressively more accustomed to being a stranger in a strange land. I have grown in my sense of disenchantment and disenfranchisement with the things of this world. After so many years I really do see myself as a pilgrim passing through.
As pilgrims, we must always bear in mind that we have a calling to be separate from the things of this world. It is not a call to retreat from life, embrace a monastic lifestyle, hide away in some remote cave in Tibet, or join some communal band dwelling in their own delusional “LaLa Land” but to realize that we will never feel at home in this present world. We are called to be in the world but to guard against being of the world.
More than at any stage in my life, I embrace the reality that I am truly a stranger on the bus trying to make his way home. My stop is just ahead. There is a joy and comfort in knowing this.