Too Much With Us

“THIS WORLD IS too much with us,” wrote William Wordsworth.

Too much indeed—and too true, WW the Poet. We do live most days looking through the wrong end of the telescope. The wrong end being our total preoccupation with two “worlds” to the exclusion of a third.

The first world that monopolizes our attention is the world revolving around “us.” Our thoughts. Our feelings. Our hopes and worries, our dreams and fears. The minutiae of our successive days: the price of gas, the pile of bills, the never-shorter To Do list, that pain we’ve felt for two days now (something serious?), family and relationship concerns, the state of our walk with God. And so much more.

The second world is what we learn from the news about our home planet: global warming, never-ending war, political corruption and polarization, stories of individual violence—nearly always against the weak—that break our hearts, natural disasters, disease and starvation. Basically, a world seemingly gone berserk.

Yet the third world only fleetingly enters our thoughts. The “world” beyond Earth. The universe. Heaven. Any intelligent beings on other planets. And though we’re only here on Earth for 70 to 100 years or so, it is the focus of virtually all our thoughts—while Heaven and the New Earth will be our home for billions and gazillions of years….life without end—yet we rarely seem to think of that waiting world.

Through one end of the telescope, we see our daily routines and could assume from the media that nothing more important is going on in all the universe than what happens in Washington, D.C. Seen from God’s end, what’s happening in D.C. is small potatoes—relatively minor but long-foreseen developments in a far greater drama.

Remember those old hymns? “I’m a Pilgrim, and I’m a Stranger” and “I’m Just a Stranger Here . . . Heaven Is My Home”? The way this world is shaping up, perhaps it would behoove us to spend less time fretting about the liberals and the conservatives . . . the flaws of the Church . . . or even the drama of our personal daily lives . . . and let our minds look ahead to where we’ll spend eternity. After all, “When we’ve been there ten thousand years, bright shining as the sun, we’ve no less days to sing His praise, than when we’ve first begun.”

Somewhere out there is our God—who inhabits eternity, not time—and He knows and sees all that happens here on Earth—all that happens in your thoughts and feelings, and mine. Could it be well worth our effort to try our best more often to see through His end of the telescope?

Yes, this world is too much with us—the next one, not enough.


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