by Joe Sands cross posted from his blog Incongruous Circumspection
So, I want to tell you a story. A story of hope. A story of looking back in life and weeping. Looking forward and seeing hope for the children of mine, given to me through the wonders of humanity’s ability to
It was the summer of 2012. Call Me Maybe swept the United States, captivating the attention of every person below the age of fourteen. The song was dumb. Pointless. Bubble gum pop-y. Tried and true (translation: boring) lyrics. Sung by a lovely young woman, yet a complete waste of time. Unless, of course, you like your music in small doses of sugary substances, digesting it quickly, and feeling hungry for more meaningful and complex flavors. You know…music.
And yet I wept over this song. Yeah. Blubbery tears, snot dripping from my nose. And it wasn’t while watching Jepsen sing. Actually, it was all the hundreds of YouTube videos of the song, with perfectly choreographed young folk, being happy together. Coming together in a community. Enjoying something. Embracing camaraderie. Having fun, with no real purpose except having fun, based on a dance and common enjoyment in an activity that resembled…music (I must squeak that word out carefully here).
And that is why I loved it.
I never had that growing up. Everything was forbidden. Everything was serious. All was for naught, unless directed toward heaven. Every minute of every day had to be redeemed and accounted for at the Judgment Seat. All thoughts and actions were re-channeled to prepare for telling others about Jesus Christ or letting them see your perfect life through how you lived (which was a totally awesome concept, being that I could hide my embarrassing religious beliefs and still claim to be a worthwhile Christian…though this concept was always railed against by various religious leaders, calling out the lazy ones among us…”Share you faith!,” they would shout, then lambaste you with some idea that everyone who you didn’t speak to in a public urinal was going to hell because of you).
And I lived miserably. I was supposed to be a happy Christian and yet I was miserable. Miserable as hell, ironically.
Part of the weepery was looking forward. Sure, I looked at my past and cried for what I missed. I wanted to be those young people. To be sitting on those buses, in those vans, elbow to elbow, smelling the mutual purposeless existence, enjoying life while careening toward nothing in particular. But mostly, I wept, purposing to not allow the same weeping in my children when they reached my age.
I want my children to hear that song and watch those videos when they hit 31, burst out laughing, crowing, “We did that!”
And think nothing of it.
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I am a 30 something husband of one and father of 6 dynamic and loud children. My wife and I are still madly in love – at least in my view. My world is exciting, tense, and full of life. I love to write and hope to one day, do it full time. – Incongruous Circumspection
NLQ Recommended Reading …
‘Breaking Their Will: Shedding Light on Religious Child Maltreatment‘ by Janet Heimlich
‘Quivering Daughters‘ by Hillary McFarland
‘Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement‘ by Kathryn Joyce