After minimal sleep on the plane and taxi ride, ordered in my broken Spanish to a Spanish man speaking broken English, we arrived at our AirBnB for the week. Our directions were to call a number and someone would let us in.
We called and a few minutes later a guy, probably 28-30 years old, came with the keys held high in his hand.
“Hello! I’m Konrad. Let me show you in.” He said in a slurred accent that wasn't Spanish but wasn't English, it was something I'd never heard before.
He walked us up the stairs to the apartment we rented. He showed us around as he fidgeted with his rings, he couldn't sit still. It was a bit odd.
“Here’s the sink, the bathroom, here are the towels, and wifi password (bless up)”
He gave us the keys and as he began to walk to the door he turned around.
“I’m with a couple friends at the pub downstairs if you want to join?”
I looked at Chris “When in Spain right?”
So we said we’d meet him down there after we unpacked.
“Ok! It's the one with the Guinness sign out front, you can't miss it”
We could miss it.
We wouldn't have found it if Konrad hadn’t have been outside and found us first. We went inside the small pub to meet his two friends. One was an Aussie who was about Konrad's age, the other was a 50-year-old architect from Spain. Both of their names have slipped my memory. It was an interesting group, to say the least.
They asked about us.
We asked about them.
They asked about Trump. (Why? We don't know, nor did Chris and I want to talk about US politics...)
We laughed at the random Antonio Banderas framed picture that was hanging in the corner of the bar.
Konrad went on a tangent on the Palestine-Israel conflict. All of which was over Chirs and I’s heads, but we just nodded and were polite. The Aussie chimed in after Konrad said something that offended him because his girlfriend lives in Isreal.
We tried to change the subject by asking what brought Konrad to Spain.
“Well, I was born in Australia, then moved to Ireland, then The Netherlands, and now I've been here for the past five years or so. I came to learn how to play the flamenco guitar. I’m pretty good but I'd probably be better if it wasn't for this” He pointed at the bottle he was holding and laughed. We laughed, but with a little bit of a broken heart for him.
He eventually went and got his guitar and played us as little, he was pretty good, there would be no telling how good he could be though.
We say him a few days later as we were walking at 4 am to the bus stop to catch a flight, he was still drinking, This time with new people. I could tell he was reaching for anything that would promise him joy or satisfaction, or some sort of life.
I read this later that night, and it made me think of Konrad.
“And as for us, why do we endanger ourselves every hour? I face death every day—yes, just as surely as I boast about you in Christ Jesus our Lord. If I fought wild beasts in Ephesus with no more than human hopes, what have I gained? If the dead are not raised,
‘Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.’
Do not be misled: ‘Bad company corrupts good character.’ Come back to your senses as you ought, and stop sinning; for there are some who are ignorant of God—I say this to your shame. (1 Corinthians 15v30-33)
If Jesus didn't rise from the grave, then Konrad is right to seek any sort of fulfillment that he wants. If you want to drink, drink. If you want to eat, eat. If you want to learn the guitar, do it. It doesn't matter because tomorrow we die. Spurgeon said it well “This is the best philosophy in the world if there is no life to come. So Paul has proved his point right well by every argument that he has used.” And none of this has to mean. So find your fulfillment in whatever way you can.
But if Jesus did rise from the grave…
Well, then that changes everything. It means that what we do in this world does matter. It means that we have something greater to look to. It means the grave couldn't hold Jesus, and it can hold me either, death is not the end. That's why Paul is calling us to come back to our senses and see that Jesus’ words are true. And if you have forgotten, Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10v10)
My friends, we have something greater to look forward to than what this world has to offer. I don't know about you, but I want life and I want life to the full. If you believe that death couldn't hold Jesus, then believe that what he has is best.
See in Christ we get a glimpse into heaven. A glimpse into the life that is to come. A glimpse into the world that in every aspect of life is life to the full.
Until we can experience that in full, we must make do in peering into that glimpse longingly as we fall more in love with our Savior.
I’ve been praying Konrad and will continue to. I hope he can find joy in that guitar, bottle, or whatever else he is changing. But more, I pray that when those things inevitably leave him empty that he turns to the One who won't.
I've been journeying through this idea of focusing on the eternal rather than the temporal and hope to write more about it soon. But until then a book that has been very helpful in this is Eclipse of Heaven by A.J. Conyers. I’d highly recommend it if you are interested in getting your world rocked.