If Qoheleth Wrote Haiku

Qoheleth is the word usually translated as “teacher” or “preacher”. He is the primary author of Ecclesiastes. Ecclesiastes is one of the more confusing books of the Bible, but certain themes are clear. One is the meaningless of life. Another is that God is cryptic. And also, joy may be found in the simple pleasures of life, so we should never overlook them. Now if he wrote in haiku:

life is meaningless
all things are repetitious
weariness is the norm

nothing endures
all things grow old & die…
darkness is the end

know the truth:
God’s ways are mysterious
puzzling to us all

musing on death
can lead us into despair
so enjoy life now

born with nothing
so shall we leave this life–
enjoy what you can

eat, drink, be happy…
fortunate the ones who can
topsy-turvy world

life’s simple pleasures
in which we can find joy…
approved by God

Qoheleth is right that life is often hard. None of us escape pain and suffering. Nevertheless, most days we can find sweet moments of happiness, if we only look. Perhaps a simple meal, a smile from a friend or even a stranger, holding hands with spouses or loved ones, smelling a flower, hearing bird songs, seeing stars in the sky, etc. Even in spite of our present darkness during this time of pandemic, we can find joy in some of the simple pleasures of life. And God smiles.

I must add a little appendix, for when I think of suffering in the world, I often return to Ecclesiastes 9:11-12–one of my favorite verses in this strange and wonderful work. The last line of this haiku is pure me, not Qoheleth:

misfortune is real
time and chance happen to all…
so quit blaming God

Peace (and joy) to you all,

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