Looking Back—No Regrets

Artwork for Paul’s Swan Song: A Study of 2 Timothy

Herman Melville, the author of Moby-Dick, was a man of regrets. Unlike his friend Nathaniel Hawthorne, literary fame and fortune eluded Melville. He wrote to his brother-in-law, “Life is so short and so ridiculous and irrational (from a certain point of view) that one knows not what to make of it, unless—well, finish the sentence for yourself.” Compared to the long history of humanity—to say nothing of eternity—each individual life is short, “just a vapor” (James 4:14). But the span of our lives, no matter how long they may be, need not lead us to adopt Melville’s conclusion. Paul didn’t think life ridiculous or irrational—even with his head on the axeman’s block. In one of the finest epitaphs found in literature, Paul celebrated life, without reservation, remorse, or regret.