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Chaplaincy

Friday, Second Week of Advent

Go, eat your food with gladness, and drink your wine with a joyful heart, for God has already approved what you do. 8 Always be clothed in white, and always anoint your head with oil. 9 Enjoy life with your wife, whom you love, all the days of this meaningless life that God has given you under the sun—all your meaningless days. For this is your lot in life and in your toilsome labor under the sun. 10 Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the realm of the dead, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom.
—Ecclesiastes 9:7-10

Work Hard, Enjoy Life

As my first finals experience continues to roll on by, I am struck by the different approaches and reactions of my fellow classmates and other Hamiltonians. Some are in KJ till 4 in the morning, some continue to procrastinate in the face of daunting projects, and still others just freeze up and seem not to be able to get any work done no matter how hard they try. I have always been someone who procrastinates a lot, and really don't get work done until the deadline is nigh, and am envious of those who are able to plan ahead and stick to their plan. But they also seem to be a lot more stressed out about their work.

It's always hard to know whether to do what you should do or what you want to do. And perhaps it seems that this passage from Ecclesiastes offers no solution. But I think that that is the key: that neither absolute is correct. While you should give your best effort at the opportunities that come your way, passing up an evening with friends could change your life just as much.

So my advice is two-fold: study hard for your finals and write those papers, but don't be spending all, or even most of your time doing it. Perhaps it seems morbid and bleak, but we do only have so long on this earth. We should be enjoying all we can about it. Luckily, we can be sure of a more optimistic view of death today, because of the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross. And that is something we can all enjoy. Happy Advent everybody.

—Paul Westin ‘15