By Andy Christian Castillo
I’m on a mountaintop, and there isn’t any snow. In fact, it’s a balmy 70 degrees, and off in the distance, past fluffy white clouds, soaring hawks and fluttering butterflies, I can see the ocean. Sunlight reflects off the waves and diffuses into the haze — trust me when I say it’s beautiful.
Right now, life is good. I have a great new job, a great new apartment, a beautiful girlfriend, and I just walked across the stage at UMass and shook the dean’s hand. Deploying to the Middle East and commuting to school for all those years is paying off: I’m finally reaping the rewards from my labor.
In the midst of all this jubilation, I’m reminded of a verse my father has told me many, many times: “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”
Ultimately, everything in the world as I know it will turn into dust. One day, my apartment will fall apart, my job will end, my diploma will disintegrate, and there won’t be anything left.
That’s what being mortal means.
Because of that mortality, humans must pursue achievements that have eternal consequences. It’s easy to get caught up in life — especially when it’s good; even harder when it’s great.
At drill today, the 104th Fighter Wing rededicated the F-100 memorial, in honor of Airmen who have given their lives fighting for the United States; men and women taken so quickly from existence. One moment, hurtling through the air in an F-15, and the next, gone.
I’m not saying that trying to succeed in life is a bad thing; what I am saying, is success isn’t the most important thing: God is.
The love of God transcends every human achievement or failure. It’s eternal, and beyond the grasp of comprehension itself. Words can’t sum up the breadth or height of the love of God, as shown through the life and death of Jesus, and neither can thoughts. God’s grace and love will not die with the world, because God isn’t of the world.
Thus, if we are to pursue achievements of eternal significance, we must reflect that love in our words and actions toward other people, regardless of how they react or treat us in return. Reciprocation isn’t the point, because our gaze should be heavenward.
I should mention that I’m writing this mostly for myself. It’s when life is good, that I become proud. And when I become proud, I fall the furthest.
Everything needs an eternal perspective — even the horizon, as viewed from the mountaintop.
Andy Christian Castillo is the Founder of Ver・ism(s). He is a military veteran and student at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, pursuing a degree in English. In his free time, he plays music, writes poetry, gallivants around the world, climbs mountains and runs through the pouring rain.