The Pixies recorded a song entitled “Ain’t that pretty at all“. It’s a cover of the Warren Zevon song by the same name. The first verse is:
Well, I’ve seen all there is to see
And I’ve heard all they have to say
I’ve done everything I wanted to do . . .
I’ve done that too
And it ain’t that pretty at all
Ain’t that pretty at all
So I’m going to hurl myself against the wall
‘Cause I’d rather feel bad than not feel anything at all
These lyrics make me think of Ecclesiastes by King Solomon (the Teacher). Here’s how chapter 1 begins.
2″Everything is meaningless,” says the Teacher, “completely meaningless!”
3What do people get for all their hard work under the sun? 4Generations come and generations go, but the earth never changes. 5The sun rises and the sun sets, then hurries around to rise again. 6The wind blows south, and then turns north. Around and around it goes, blowing in circles. 7Rivers run into the sea, but the sea is never full. Then the water returns again to the rivers and flows out again to the sea. 8Everything is wearisome beyond description. No matter how much we see, we are never satisfied. No matter how much we hear, we are not content.
9History merely repeats itself. It has all been done before. Nothing under the sun is truly new. 10Sometimes people say, “Here is something new!” But actually it is old; nothing is ever truly new. 11We don’t remember what happened in the past, and in future generations, no one will remember what we are doing now.
British man: “It all sounds rather bleak.” British woman, between sips of tea: “Quite.”
It’s not actually as dire as that. We (eventually) learn through experience that placing our hope in circumstances, possessions, wealth, friends, family, or experiences is insufficient. Jesus understood this. In the Prodigal Son parable (Luke 15:11-31), he teaches about a younger brother who requests and then squanders his inheritance through wild living. He learns that what he thought would make him happy was soon lost. He finally returns home expecting rejection, but receives love and acceptance instead. His father runs to him! He learned that it was companionship with his father that he needed all along. Everything else properly takes second place.
Zevon and the Pixies are right. I’ve seen all there is to see and I’ve heard all they have to say, I’ve done everything I wanted to do . . . and it ain’t that pretty at all.
I’ve also experienced relationship with Jesus, though, and He’s all I’ll ever need!