The Fragility of Life
by Rev Greg Obong-Oshotse 12 July 2020
Text: Psalm 103:14-16
“For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust. As for man, his days are like grass; he flourishes like a flower of the field; for the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place knows it no more”
American journalist and writer Ernest Hemingway (1899- 1961) won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1954. Many of his books are classics of American literature. A man of great adventure, he lived just as he pleased. But he was as fragile as he was strong. In the early hours of Sunday 2 July 1962, he went down to the basement of his home in Ketchum, Idaho, where he lived with his fourth wife, Mary, took his favourite shotgun, went upstairs to the front entrance foyer, put the gun to his head, pulled the trigger and shot himself dead. Shortly before his suicide he had told his friends, “I live in a vacuum that is as lonely as a radio tube when the batteries are dead, and there is no current to plug into.” Although we are incredibly strong, we are also surprisingly fragile. Life can easily be broken, damaged, destroyed. A tiny bug and it’s ‘dust to dust.’ A little poison and it’s ‘earth to earth.’ A wobbly footing and it’s ‘ashes to ashes.’ The vast majority of humanity are always split seconds between safety and danger, health and disease, wealth and poverty, fame and notoriety, victory and failure, joy and sadness, life and death. The Psalmist illustrates human frailty with the words, ‘dust,’ ‘grass,’ ‘flower,’ all frail, fragile, and delicate things.
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