Monday, July 30, 2012

Former Life

Yesterday I went to the Fox Valley antique mall with a friend, in search of antique cameras.

Well, she was actually looking for cameras. I was just along for the ride.

I'd never been before, so I was thinking it'd be some small, one room shop. Uh. No. The place is huge, and packed to the seams with relics from the past. There's a nice mix too. Some of the stuff is complete junk, but other items are the real deal.

After I got over the fact that the place smelled like my grandma's house, and started browsing around, I became fascinated with some of the stuff the antique mall had to offer.

There were a ton of cool things there! The old telephones were my favorite. And tin toys! Yes, they used to make toys out of cheap tin, not cheap plastic, believe it or not...

But the thing that really stuck with me, as I browsed the endless rows of past treasures, was the sheer amount of change that's happened in the last decade alone.

I mean, the people who had a phonograph probably thought it was the shit! And it was, of course, until the next thing came along.

Now we have iPods, with crystal clear media quality and literal days of music loaded onto something that fits in the palm of our hand easily.

Could those who lived in another life have ever seen past the fragile borders of their existence? Or did they think life was as good as it was going to get? I mean, I think my life is pretty good and all, but I know that the things I enjoy, or rely on to assist me in everyday functioning will be obsolete by the time I have kids.

My kids will probably look at my old iPod, and be like; 'What's that dad??', and I'll have to explain how Apple revolutionized the music industry by allowing people to carry music libraries with them.

And they'll make fun of my antiquated technology, as well as my receding hairline, and I'll be sad.

Do we ever think about this? We think we're so relevant, and happening, but really, our iPads, and toys and all manner of things we enjoy now, will end up behind glass in a warehouse someday. With people coming to look at how we ever managed to live with such primitive devices.

Look at how things have changed in a matter of ten years even!

I guess that's what David's son, Solomon (wisdom guy), meant in the Bible, when he famously lamented that "everything's meaningless." He wasn't saying that life, in and of itself, has no purpose. Rather, he was noticing that the purpose we get from material things, or social status, are really quite laughable when juxtaposed with eternal things.

Yet, these are the things we place our hope in. 

I was super pleased with myself when I got the iPhone 4s. I started being a 'phone snob', because I was now hip and trendy. All condescending toward those lowly people who use slider phones, and keyboards (even though I myself had been using one the day before).

Not two weeks later I got word that the iPhone 5 was to be released within the year. Crap.

Really?!?!?! Really now Apple? You can't just let me have this hipness for a full year? You gotta one up me so soon?!

But that's life, isn't it? We can believe we're on top one moment, then be ten steps behind the next. So what are you placing your meaning in? Today? Tomorrow?

I guarantee, when we look back, and walk through a warehouse someday, we'll see all the gadgets, games, and household items that we thought were the future behind the glass. Replaced by the next new fad. If that's all we live for, then life is truly meaningless.

Place your hope in the things that matter. The things that endure. The things that will never become obsolete. These are the things that will take you through all the fickle change this life throws your way.


Andrea Darkness said...

My grandpa has a basement FULL of antique cameras cause well... he's on his way to being antique and can't throw anything away. My parents had an Adap player. I should totally check this place out.

Josh said...

Lol. I see that all the time, people not being able to throw things away. Mind you, I understand hanging onto important keepsakes, but in the end, it's just stuff. Adapt player!?! Nice! You should it's pretty darn cool!