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Meditations by John Dean

Monday, June 11, 2012

Coon-Fingering


(Ecclesiastes 2:1 KJV) I said in mine heart, Go to now, I will prove thee with mirth, therefore enjoy pleasure: and, behold, this also is vanity. 

As I have read this scripture over the years I was always left with more questions than answers. I was apparently misinterpreting what the writer was trying to communicate and that is what caused my frustration. I may have even gotten a little cynical at times, but being somewhat of a literalist, I would much prefer dealing with straight questions and getting straight answers rather than having to figure it out myself.

The cynical part of me would say, “Is there anything in life that is not vanity?” Perhaps we need to keep in mind that the word “vanity” simply means “something that is not fulfilling.” That being the case, could it be that the word “vanity” is a floating term? What is “vanity” today in one person’s life is not necessarily “vanity” tomorrow in another person’s life.

With that interpretation of “vanity” we can clearly see that it not sin, but only a momentary fulfillment of something that does not produce a long term fulfillment.

In Solomon’s case he seemed to be void of the ability to be fulfilled with anything in life, even though he spent a lifetime trying. Perhaps he was the one that was cynical in his writings and not me because later he ended up saying, “Vanity, vanity, all is vanity.”

I have come to the conclusion that there are many things in life that are only meant to bring momentary pleasure. Enjoying the momentary pleasures that are given to us by God are no different than a “cookie” given to a child by a parent, even though by interpretation it could be considered “vanity.”

I have also come to the conclusion that what is “vanity” (un-fulfillment) to me may not be “vanity” to someone else. For example, there are those who love to go shopping...or what we call in East Texas, “coon-fingering.” We call it “coon-fingering” because a raccoon is so inquisitive that it goes around lightly touching everything it sees.

Most women get pleasure out of going “coon-fingering,” but most men do not. A man may go out and buy what he wants or needs, but he will never be caught wasting his time “coon-fingering” because to him there is no ”momentary pleasure” in it.

In East Texas (particularly on a Saturday) if you ask a man where his wife is...he will probably respond by saying, “Oh, she is off “coon-fingering.”

The point is, “vanity” according to this interpretation, is not some dastardly flaw in one’s character, but only an un-fulfilled space that requires regular attention.

Father,
Even though we find pleasure in occasionally going “coon-fingering” You allow us that privilege because You love us. These momentary pleasures could never take the place of our devotion to You because our eternal pleasure is only found in You.
Amen

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