Petey was my sister’s little Apricot Poodle. He had more personality than a dozen other dogs combined. He was like a naughty two-year-old. Petey stole everything that wasn’t nailed down. I’m convinced he watched with eagle eye, and when someone laid down the remote, or a pair of eyeglasses or a writing pen, in a flash, this adorable puppy snatched it and furrowed under the table to gnaw it to shreds. It was a game with Petey, and my sister fell for it every time. She jumped up and yelled and chased him. “Give it back! Put it down, Petey!” He loved it!
Every time the door was left ajar, he was out and down the street running lickety-split with his long apricot ears flapping in the breeze. Terrified that he would be hit by a car my sister always chased after him yelling, “Petey stop! Petey come home!” Sometimes I chased with her. Even the neighbors got into the act enticing him with a slice of bologna or some other delicacy. Finally, June gave up. Turning around, she started back to the house announcing, “I’m going home now,” and, without further coaxing Petey turned around and padded after her glad to come in out of the heat.
Chasing a dog in the 118 degrees August heat wasn’t fun, but thinking about that experience, I realized that we spend most of our lives chasing after one thing or another.
When we were kids, we chased after the ball, the dog and each other. As teens, the girls chased the boys and the boys chased the girls. Then life became serious, the future loomed, and we began to pursue more important things—the ingredients of a “good” life—the things that would make us happy.
According to the Dalai Lama, our sole purpose in life is to pursue, chase after, happiness. Many people have bought into this believing that possessions, position, and prestige are the secrets to that longed-for happiness. All their lives, they chase the dream convinced that if they can just earn a little more money, enlarge the business, acquire a snazzier automobile, live in a better neighborhood, and run with the beautiful crowd, life will be perfect. Only to discover that happiness is fleeting, and the nose must be kept to the grindstone in order to sustain that lifestyle.
“I’M ALWAYS CHASING RAINBOWS” was a popular vaudeville song first produced back in the early nineteen hundreds, but recorded by many artists through the years. To me, the lyrics portray disappointment, defeat and unrealized dreams.
“I’m always chasing rainbows watching clouds drifting by.
My schemes are just like all my dreams ending in the sky.
Some fellows look and find the sunshine.
I always look and find the rain.
Some fellows make a winning sometimes.
I never even make a gain…”
What a sad, sad song! A rainbow is a meteorological phenomenon. It is an optical effect produced by sunlight and water droplets. Yes, God gave us the rainbow as the sign of His promise to never again destroy the earth by flood, but the rainbow, though beautiful, is not something that can be physically approached, nor can it be leaned on or trusted in. It is not a thing of substance, and it disappears almost as quickly as it appears. Chasing rainbows is pointless. My apologies to Irish Leprechauns.
I am sure the writer of these lyrics had in mind something more than an actual rainbow. I believe he was thinking of those things for which we work so hard hoping that, miraculously, they will produce the life we long for—that magically our dreams will come true.
Contentment is an ingredient in short supply in today’s world, because whatever it is, IT’S NEVER ENOUGH! We strive so hard to get ahead, to acquire more stuff, to “keep up with the Joneses,” to make a better life that we leave ourselves no time to enjoy the simple pleasures. Don’t you just wish sometimes that you could forget about what your friends have and what your neighbors are doing?
Our hearts and minds are so fixated on the present, on stockpiling the “good” things that we have little thought for the future—for eternity.
Matthew 6:19-20 (The Message) counsels us to “…stockpile treasures in heaven…” because those earthly treasures, on which we set such store, are in danger of being “…eaten by moths and corroded by rust or –worse!—stolen by burglars.”
Matthew is telling us that those things we chase so aggressively are just as unsubstantial, just as fragile, just as fleeting as the rainbow.
There is only one true source of the peace and happiness we so long for, and that is God Himself.
In Psalm 63:1, David cries, “O God, You are my God; early will I seek you; my soul thirsts for you…”
Again in Hebrews 11:6 “…He(God) is a rewarder of those who diligently seek (who chase after) Him.”
CHASE AFTER GOD. HE IS THE ONLY SOURCE OF REAL HAPPINESS!
Remember, the sun will come out tomorrow!