Why is it then . . .
We go to the doctor for one thing, and they find something else?
You pay top dollar to have the AC fixed in your car, but they also discover you need a new set of tires to replace the bald ones?
The exterminator takes care of the fire ant armies attacking your land, only to discover clans of squirrels that have discovered a cozy residence in many private entrances to your attic?
How can we be middle-aged and still battling acne???
BTW – All the above situations are purely fiction and hypothetical 🙂
So what in the world does my above ranting have to do with Elysium? What in the heck is Elysium? I’m glad you asked!
Several ancient cultures, primarily the Greek and Romans, believed in something besides Heaven when we die, a magical paradise called Elysium. Here are just a few samples of the writings from that period:
” . . . to the Elysian plain . . . where life is easiest for men . . . ” – Homer
“. . . And they live untouched by sorrow . . . ” – Hesiod
“. . . The good receive a life free from toil . . .” – Pindar
A place of paradise, an easy life, no sorrow, free from toil – that sounds pretty great right about now! Basically, it would be heaven on earth – where do I sign up???
My light bulb moment is that deep in the back of my mind – I somehow think I should eventually achieve an “Elysium lifestyle” before my time is up. Things will stop breaking down, illness will cease, problems should be minuscule, and piles of money will somehow come rolling in on a fairly consistent basis.
The Kingdom of Elysium is an unhealthy mindset that I frequently default to during the here and now.
Author Ryan Holiday has this brilliant insight:
“Elysium is a myth. One does not overcome an obstacle to enter the land of no obstacles. On the contrary, the more you accomplish, the more things will stand in your way. There are always more obstacles, bigger challenges. You’re always fighting uphill. Get used to it and train accordingly.” (The Obstacle is the Way)
Two solutions come to mind: thankfulness and perspective. I’m thankful to have a vehicle, a home, a job, family and friends, some savings, and doctors to go to.
My perspective needs to embrace the mindset that we don’t get heaven now – we don’t even get Eden. The same God who showers us with innumerable blessings also allows mysterious calamity to frequent our lives. True, unshakeable joy and peace come when our life purpose is centered around loving God and others.