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Tarnish is already happening. There is nothing new under the sun.

leaves on ground under a tree

I worked at a startup for a few years.


Because startups worship at the altar of Apple, the day they released all their new products with Steve Jobs (and then Tim Cook) parading around on stage with a little skin-toned cordless ear mic—the precursor to the TED talk—was a high religious holiday.


I have a Windows PC and use Android. I didn’t really care.


So as the “ooh!” and “aaah!” rolled in and the intra-office HipChat flooded with comments on the latest thing that was unveiled and people shared links to Twitter posts gushing about the latest, a similarly disinterested co-worker sent a chat out into the gushing office feed.


“Shiny new object is shiny, new.”


That was the best nut shelling I’ve ever seen.


I’ve been feeling distinct sadness in the past few years.


It’s not just because the nation is crumbling and the world is imploding and deception reigns and Christians are falling into the New Age. It’s because I can see the shiny new objects for what they are.


Transitory.


Soon-to-tarnish.


Collecting dust.


Falling apart.


Out of warranty.


Dying.


I still turn on a barely-holds-a-charge smartphone that’s over four years old. I have a vehicle that’s 30 years old. I have clothes in my dresser that I still wear that are 25 years old. I have pens and pencils I used in high school, and books I read as a child.


I like what I have. I don’t want new stuff. What I have are known entities. They’re worn in. I’m used to them. I know what to expect from them. I already own them. They cost me nothing.

Advertising worked it’s magic when I was younger, strumming the cords of discontent and selling me on wanting the next new thing. But now it doesn’t work the same.


“Wow, look at that amazing house!” is a common refrain.


“Lots of windows to keep clean. Can’t imagine what it’s like to vacuum,” I inevitably respond.


“If you can afford that house, you can afford maids.”


“Unnecessary expense. What a catch-22.”


Shiny, new object is always a façade.


I don’t want anyone to make me a new offer that forces me to make more decisions. I don’t want new. I want what I have, those things I love, to last.


But they won’t.


Obsolescence, whether planned or not, is built into everything because it’s the nature of the fallen world. Everything is on a path to decay and disintegration the moment it’s made. Whether it’s promises or empires, the end is always creeping up.


That’s extremely painful for we humans who were meant to be eternal; we’re living in a fallen world of perpetual decay. Made to be with God for eternity, yet trapped (for the time being) in rust.


This realization makes it difficult to enjoy things.


The new kittens at the home farm make me sad, because I know most will die. The delicious cake will make me fat. The money I put in my bank account will get diddled with by the IRS, its worth destroyed by inflation. The baby birds in the backyard fall to the ground and I find their bodies the next day. The plants I nurture so hard to stay healthy and full of cheerful flowers wither into brittle or moldy lumps.


Every day is a fight of maintenance that you know you’ll eventually lose. It’s easy for days to feel like they’re managed by Sisyphus.


One day I went for a short walk alone. I thought a break would help, and I could pray while I walked. While on the path, I saw a rabbit dead in the street, hit by a car. I hate seeing dead animals.


God, I’m tired of death and everything is falling apart and I can’t pretend it isn’t.


The death of little animals. The death of seasons. The death of dreams. The death of truth. The death of morality. The death of beauty. The death of trust. The death of millions around the world from war and hunger and disease. You can be away from the war zone but you’re never away from death.


Your creation is beautiful, but it’s not home. Everything dies here. Life is spent pushing back death and I’m tired.


At the time, we were coming off of one of the vilest June pride months in recent memory, one with the dregs and drags of immorality plastered everywhere, from corporate brands to rainbow flags flapping at the local Starbucks to filthy commercials on TV. We are steeping in decay and we are celebrating that fact.


If this were a happy devotional article, I’d tell you that when stopped walking and I looked around I saw the beauty of nature and people buzzing about busy with life, I learned something valuable—maybe “keep your chin up”—and a smile returned and I went along my way changed.


This is not the case.


I talked it out with God a bit more, then walked home and tried to do my very best for my clients and not let weariness win.


“One thing I’ve noticed in the past year and a half is that my life feels like someone took hold of a really big weed and kept pulling and pulling,” a friend of mine said when she came to visit one evening. “The roots were deep, but eventually the plant was uprooted. And that’s like my hold on this world. I feel so much happened these past few years that I was finally able to let go.”


That is the case.


God is good. His creation is marvelous. Life is a gift. His blessings are unending. His commands still stand and we are to occupy until we die or Jesus comes for us. But home is elsewhere and I’m not going to pretend it isn’t.


Maybe you will get to the place I and my friend are, when the shiny, new object doesn’t catch your eye, where it doesn’t do a thing to make you look away from Jesus and eternity.


No future vacation, no job, no income, no career opportunity, no new normal, no new cultural morality, no relationship, no intellectual pursuit, no art, no music, no possession, no food, no conspiracy, no justice, no activism, no fame, no award, no achievement, no reputation, no grand vista—nothing will satisfy except one thing.


It’s a painful and unsettling wait, but fellow Christ-follower, shake the dirt off your roots. Your real home is forever shiny and new.


Here, there is nothing new under the sun.

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