Got Me So Empty

Recently on Joylily’s & my honeymoon while exploring downtown Cincinnati we had a strange encounter – an encounter that somehow felt meant for us.

For us, this wasn’t the typical Monday that it was for the rest of the city who went on about normal life; it was a celebration! Months of preparation, constant attention to little details that never seemed to amount to anything, prayer and daily leaps of faith to get to this point were finally over…and not only did the wedding go amazingly but the goal was accomplished and we were just over the starting line of marriage. Wow! Still, we joined the rest of the world that afternoon at one of our favorite coffee spots for our daily devotional time. This time led into a conversation with Joylily about man’s pursuits & the resulting emptiness, a discussion that continued as we made our way to the nearby riverfront walk.

I’m easily swayed by the hype of things (new music, new clothes, holidays, new people), which typically leads to being let down hard. It’s a vicious cycle that I should know better than to get myself into again & again (just ask my family! Haha). Yet I run to the next thing… I think we all do this, to some extent, to fill the void. Our culture thrives – or rather survives – on hype. But it always leads to this incurable empty feeling & even loneliness that not only doesn’t mend our broken heart, it breaks it further. It’s a race. An insane, mind-numbing, socially acceptable race.

But there we were stopping at the start of the day. Pausing. Dwelling. Living. Seeking direction & satisfaction in Jesus and not anything we would accomplish that day.

The truth of our conversation was suddenly confirmed as we noticed a small crowd that was gathering at the lookout in front of our swing. Traffic was stopped on both sides of the Roebling Bridge, police were everywhere, and one lone car sat right in the middle of the bridge – empty. People were chaotically assessing the situation and began pointing to something bobbing in the river. Joylily zoomed in with her camera and, sure enough, it was a man that had just jumped seconds earlier.

Within ten minutes the man was picked up by a rescue boat, undoubtedly injured. Once the man was aboard, people went on about their lives and that was the end of it.

We have no idea why he jumped. Maybe his wife just left him. Maybe he just lost his job. Whatever the reason, obviously he’d come to the end of himself. I relate. I’ve been the jumper. I’ve been at that point: the point where I walked downtown and wished I could jump off every building I saw. I don’t believe a person can be in a lower place than where their own life is nothing. Emptiness literally means to contain nothing. Is it that we aren’t filling ourselves with things? No, it’s just that all these things equate to nothing.

Because let’s face it, no new year’s resolution, no freedom from debt, no new ideology/marketing scheme, no significant other, no presidential candidate, no college degree–noTHING–is going to cure you of your emptiness.

Deep down in your soul you know there’s only One that will satisfy your emptiness.

-Will

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