Monday, September 6, 2010

Hymns and Politics

When I was younger, holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas were a mystery to me. The whole family would gather around the dining room table (ok, the grown-ups did... we kids were banished to the card table) and eat for about fifteen minutes. Then they'd all slowly start pushing back their chairs, an inch or so every hour, til they were at least a good foot from the table. The whole afternoon they'd sit there just talking and talking. I was too old to go outside and "play" and too young to care much about the conversation, so there was nothing else to do but wait it out. I always wondered how they could sit for so long just talking about nothing.

Now that I'm 21, married, and only see my family a couple times a year, I understand. I miss it. I would love to go home tonight and sit around the table for hours with my family and talk. Just talk. Home is that place where you're always welcome, always accepted, always loved. You understand how you became who you are when you're with your family. You see how your parents lovingly discipline your younger siblings and how they encourage them and praise their successes, and you realize how grateful you are that they did the same for you.

Thanks, Mom. Thanks, Dad.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

George Bailey and "Hubcaps Lesh"

For those of you like me who grew up watching "It's a Wonderful Life" every Christmas and "The Andy Griffith Show" every weeknight, you understand the character conflict between George Bailey and Miss Lesh. George was a good and wholesome guy with big dreams and strong convictions. He was devoted to his family, his father's business, and the whole town for that matter. His desire to succeed in life, make money, and see the world was always subservient to his morals and his relationships with people. Miss Lesh, on the other hand, was a scheming crook who tried to lure gullible country folk like Barney Fife into shady business deals using her "sweet old lady" appeal. I've found that for as many George Bailey's as there are in the world, there are ten times more Miss Lesh's.

In the words of Jack Johnson, "Where'd all the good people go?"

I'm pretty sick and tired of all the Hubcaps in the world who don't care about people and values and would rather make a buck at your expense than cook you a meal. But when it comes right down to it, what can we expect from people who suscribe to their own value system? Mayberry wasn't just a town where people were nice to each other because it was popular or got you something in return. They went to church. They were Christians who lived for something greater than themselves. Their respect and politeness and common courtesy and generosity and decent living were merely products of their deeply rooted faith.