“All things are full of weariness; a man cannot utter it.” Ecclesiastes 1:8
We live in a broken world. Dark, full of evil. Unjust, uncaring, and at times wearying. Day in and day out, the same things over and over, with no rest, no escape. The bible, thankfully, doesn’t sugarcoat things. The book of Ecclesiastes, in particular, is an oddity in a collection of otherwise rather positive stories, messages, and history. In it, the author, calling himself the Preacher (often assumed to be Solomon, the wise king of early Israel), examines in fullness the emptiness of human life.
As Christians, we can look forward to eternity- a perfect, remade heaven and earth, with no injustice, full of beauty. But that doesn’t change the reality of where we are now. Though our 90-odd years may one day seem small compared with the fullness of eternity, living within it can often stretch out with no end in sight. No wonder the Preacher struggles to find even the barest hints of life and light in his thorough examination of existence!
Arima Kousei, in Your Lie in April, struggles with something similar. A middle school piano prodigy that gave up piano after a tragedy, he finds himself searching for meaning in a world that seems weary and monotone.
Yet he finds and chases a spark that he sees in Kaori Miyazono, a violinist with a zeal for life that cannot be dampened by anything. So, too, does the Preacher find a spark of hope in youth and heart!
In the end, Arima finds meaning in his expression. Playing the piano, not to be acknowledged as someone who plays well, but to shine. To express his emotions, who he is, to find his way past people’s ears to their hearts.
“You know, I discovered something. Everyone has something… Something deep inside their hearts. For some, it might have been enmity. For others, admiration. Wishes, a craving for the spotlight, feelings that one wants to deliver, feelings for one’s mother. Everyone was supported by their own feelings. I realize now that, perhaps, no one can stand alone on stage.” -Your Lie in April, Episode 11
This isn’t just one way to live—it’s our duty. A life lived any other way than shining is nothing more than monotonous, empty existence. Hundreds of years later, Jesus called his followers the light of the world. He told them to let their good deeds shine before others, that they would glorify God.
Because when it comes down to it, that’s the reason our world is vain, empty, broken, and dark—it has rejected God. Sure, we still see flashes of his intent and beauty all the time- a sunrise, a song, color, light, kindness, and love- but the nature of the world is separate from Him. If there is to be any light at all, it must be from Him and in His wisdom. God has decided to shine it through us, and He has made us the light.
So the next time you feel like the world is dark, and you’re tired and wondering what the point is, let a little kindness out. As the (original Japanese) theme song says, “If we shine even in the deepest darkness, it will become a starry sky.” We may not yet be in the coming kingdom of light and glory, but we can turn the dark world around us into a starry one- all together, one pinprick of light at a time.