If you did watch the video, in between shots of Kenny Loggins sitting at a bar or walking down the road with his guitar while being passed by a truck, you saw scenes of an equally 80's movie called "Over the Top." This was a Sylvester Stallone movie about arm wrestling. Basically the idea is he's a truck driver training to compete in an arm wrestling competition in Las Vegas who has to take care of his long-lost son because his ex-wife is dying in the hospital.
You need to know that his son is about the whiniest little snot I've ever seen (though he somehow manages to redeem himself by the end of the movie when he illegally drives a truck to the airport so he can go see his dad and ultimately start a trucking company with his dad, throwing away what would certainly be a massive inheritance from his grandfather. Wait. He didn't redeem himself. He's just whiny and stupid too.).
Anyway, during one of this kid's tantrums, his dad (Stallone) is trying to motivate him:
"The world meets nobody halfway." There is deep truth in that. Much deeper than you'd imagine in a bad 80's movie about arm wrestling. There is the one sense that Sly is talking about, encouraging his son to step up and claim responsibility for himself. One way or another, the whiny kid will eventually have to figure out who he is separate from his grandfather's money and influence...and he's stronger than he gives himself credit for.
But there's another sense too, and it's what I was talking to the youth about. You can coast through life and take everything at face value if you want to. You can go along to get along. You can look at life skin deep and see nothing else. But if you want to experience what life really has to offer, you have to pop the hood. You have to look harder, and you have to look longer. It takes time and commitment and sweat. It doesn't come easy. And that depth of experience, it won't come to you. It won't even meet you halfway. You have to go after it, and you can't give up.
I was talking about music at the time. We can coast along and sing pretty well, and people after church will tell us it was great. But we are capable of more than that. Each piece, each phrase, each note, each vowel, each dynamic...music is exceedingly rich. Our young youth choir is only scratching the surface right now...but the reason is that they, at least on Sunday, didn't seem to want to dig any deeper than that.
It's true of their lives too. Even at this age, these kids are capable so much. Like Thoreau, they are at a point where they can begin to live deliberately...if they choose to. But they won't do it on their own. They have to be encouraged. And they have to be shown how. Forget about stopping to smell the roses. They need to stop and think about how the rose came to be and why it is lovely to them or why it isn't and why roses can mean love and...and...and...
|A rose by any other name would be|
more than its sweet smell.
Back in High School (in between dodging the hungry Pterodactyls), I had a world history teacher who was talking to us about the evolution of society. He said, "Now what if we were taking a test, and Hearne really needed to go to the bathroom. I mean really needed to pee. But I didn't let him go. So he sat there the whole test long. Do you think he'd do well?" No. "Right. Because he has a basic need that is not being met. But if I let him go, he will come back and be able to focus...so he'll probably do better, right?" Yes. "That's how society works. Subsistance means that you can only focus on your immediate need. But in society other people help meet your basic needs, and that frees you up to think more about more advanced problems...and that leads to progress."
|This is the first image that appears|
if you search google for "need to pee."
I would really like to tell you how I've solved that problem. I'd like to tell you how I've figured out to make the space for wonder, but I haven't. I just know it's important. Maybe knowing it is important is a decent first step in figuring out how to make it happen.