Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Simple things mean a lot

A Guinness and its stew - Kool Aid provided elsewhere
We were getting ready for our annual St. Patrick's Day feasting.  We had the usual: Meat pies and Reuben sandwiches, potato and leek soup, soda bread, bangers and mash, Guinness stew and Dublin Coddle and Scotch eggs.  Suddenly one of my older sons piped up and asked where was the green Kool-Aid?  

Quite frankly, I didn't buy any.  When they were younger, for fun we bought green ("Lime flavored") Kool-Aid and served it with the meal.  After all, they were too young for Guinness or lager.  Since our youngest is now approaching teenage years, I assumed that was a hook we didn't need to continue.  I was wrong.  Heaven forbid, they said, we miss one of the traditions of this annual feast.  So it was getting Kool-Aid and making sure it was served with the meals.

Something about that made me glad.  That my sons, in this day and age, in the Internet, digital, too hip for God, woke-cancel-justice holier than Jesus, cynical and nihilist generation that they live in, were bothered that I dared forget the green Kool-Aid.  Because that's what we do in our annual traditions.  

Now, we have not lived a high on the hog life, I'll admit.  Lower middle class I'd say. And then in some crazier days not even that.  When my mom moved in, we effectively brought her and her household items into a house meant as a starter for 3 or 4 person family.  That made things pretty wild over the years.  While we've provided for them, I wouldn't say it's been without its lean times.  Yet somehow I think that has helped them see such simple things as valuable in ways they might not otherwise have done. 

I think there are several things that conservatives can be criticized for botching.  I think one was - especially for conservative Christians - getting swept up in the consumerist frenzies of the later 20th Century. I'm not saying everyone should live under rocks and eat locusts and honey.  But you have to admit, the constant accumulation of more and more and more doesn't seem to have made a positive difference in people's lives.  From an emotional and spiritual angle, it could be argued that it's been a negative. 

Sometimes, it's the less you have that brings out the more.  There's a funny skit in the old television show Frasier.  Frasier Crane and his brother Niles epitomized shallow snobbery at its funniest.  One day they are sharing a coffee at the local coffee bar.  Niles tells of a documentary he saw in which a poor child was given a pair of new shoes.  He describers the child's sheer, unbridled joy in such a simple gift.  He then says, despite his wealth and privilege and abundance, he has never had a moment when he knew such pure joy as that child's simple embrace of a pair of shoes.  

Of course that was a set up for a joke, but the point was relevant - and true.  I think our abundance has made us lose track of the little things.  Oh, we can stop - as I've done - and think of them.  But it doesn't come .... natural.  We almost have to remind ourselves to remember it isn't the cars, homes, swimming pools, smart phones, and all that bring happiness.  A momentary fix perhaps, but not happiness.  

Happiness is generally sourced out from the overlooked parts of life.  Overlooked, that is, when we have so many things that block out the Son.  So maybe I need to clean house a bit.  Necessity has already dictated that my life would never be defined by the biggest houses, cars and properties.  But like comparing myself to Jeff Bezos to dodge implications of too much wealth in the NT, perhaps it's more than just a lack of big houses and big screen TVs.  I dunno.  Just thought of all that when my very adult sons seemed rather miffed at such a simple thing as green Kool-Aid on St. Patrick's Day. 

1 comment:

  1. They really do. We are eternal beings visiting Time and thus we crave signs of things stretching into the past and future to give us that hint of eternity.


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