I need a word, and perhaps the hyphen-spliced alliterative combination-word above is not too far wide of the mark.
Webster’s online says the word has to do with “feeling or showing fatigue from or boredom with the life of the world and especially material pleasures.”
I’m not sure that last half suits my need, though I’m sure it fits the word. It brings to my mind a tired old James Bond-sort of guy whose Aston Martin has rusted out, whose spy-chasing, women-collecting, Martini-swilling days are pretty much over and, even if they weren’t, he’s “been there, done that.”
Even old Solomon, who’d drunk all the wine, had all the women, and sung all the songs this world has to offer, ended up tired and done in, labeling this world’s glitter as “weariness.”
“World-weary” fits ancient Solomon and my arthritic old spy guy like a glove. (It’s also probably why they never let Bond get all that terribly old.)
But I’m not needing so much to lease the “world-weary” word for its “bored” or “jaded” or “blasé” component; I need the first part that connotes the “fatigue,” “weariness,” soul-sucking “sadness” that focusing on this world brings on.
Turn to the 24-hour news. (Better yet, don’t.) The media, supposedly values-neutral, both an impossibility and a lie, are yet again ratings-baiting and joining Hollywood in shoving their values down our throats with a depth of self-righteousness barely equaled even in religion when it becomes mean and twisted. This sensation. That sensation. This protest or riot. This celebrity melt-down. More of the same. Over and over.
All around us, the world seems to crowd in, and, because of too much time spent in this world, or, at least, focusing on this world, we become soul-sick and tired and . . . world-weary.
What to do? Try this . . .
Pray the prayer of the early Christians: “Lord Jesus, come quickly.” Pray not in depression but in hope, knowing that one day genuine healing is coming. The victory is already His. The snake still writhes dangerously, but the serpent’s head was cut off at the cross.
Soak up God’s promises and his word. Walk with Christ in the Gospels and be healed as he heals others. Get an infusion of hope as the writers point to a time when God’s glory will again be revealed in the “new heavens and earth.”
Go to the Psalms. You can always find yourself there. In joy. In pain. In trouble. In hope. In perplexity. And, yes, in the midst of “world-weariness” as you and the psalmists crave the help that comes only from beyond this world.
At least for the English major under my hat, I find it good medicine to leave this world occasionally. I turn off the news and read myself into Middle Earth, or Narnia, or some other word-world, where in the face of long odds, evil is vanquished by truth and beauty and joy. Those precious gems are God’s wherever they are found, and are no less real for having been infused into word-worlds which point beyond themselves to Joy’s Source.
God’s good news and reality are far more real and deep and long-lasting than anything you’ll see on the news. His joy is the antidote to world-weariness.
Curtis Shelburne is pastor of 16th & Ave. D. Church of Christ in Muleshoe. Contact him at