The World Won't Stop for Broken Hearts
I keep only one picture of me with Dale Earnhardt, Sr. It’s actually not even a picture of us, it’s almost an accidental shot taken by my old friend Steve Rose. Steve was one of the “official” photographers that traveled with the sport. The last race Dale won was at Talladega in 2000. I made my customary visit to Victory Lane to congratulate the winner. Earnhardt was different in Victory Lane in that he would always grab my hand and pull me halfway into the car with him. Seriously, he would kiss the back of my hand or top of my head and say, “Let’s pray!” It’s no secret that he loved to win, and evidently, it never got old. And I guess, above every other occasion, it was a time he wanted to say, “Thank You.” This reflection has left a very impressionable mark on me—nearly 20 years later.
Fast forward to February 21. My wife and I were in the car with Dale Jr. as we journeyed to the funeral of his father. We picked Dale Jr. up at his home. It was just the three of us. He didn't say much, but I could see that he was thinking the same thing I was as we drove through his hometown—why doesn’t the world stop for just a bit? This wasn’t just about the death of a famous person; this was about the death of a young man’s father. As we drove along, people were caring for their yards, kids were playing wiffle ball, one guy even looked like he had just scratched off the winning numbers of a lottery ticket. The restaurant was full. Didn’t these people know what was going on? Didn’t they care about what had happened?
I remembered all of this as I continue to process my way through Ecclesiastes. How does anyone live “under the sun” without the awareness of God, His kingdom, and eternity? It is during moments like funerals and such that we ponder the scheme of things. We actually wonder if there is a scheme of things. To think that after our deaths, we will be buried and honored for only a moment, and that goes for the best of us. But even the best of us will die and be forgotten “under the sun.” According to Ecclesiastes 3:11: “Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.” We are perplexed deeply by the reality of death and the seemingly meaninglessness of our lives. We need more, and we are looking everywhere for it but where it can be found.
It is only through faith in our Creator God that we can say the most unlovely things will be made beautiful in God’s timing. It is only the path to God that will lead us to anything other than despair. I am grateful for the truth and the time necessary to reflect upon it. I hope you will use our time in Ecclesiastes as an opportunity to do the same.