All mothers, with the exception of my mother, are gorgeous. It is a universal truth, more or less, that the elegance of a mother blinds the retinas of angels. Beauty buoyantly flows over the earth and retires downward onto the hearty lap of a mother. In similar tone, but in slight contrast … my mother is one gorgeous hot tamale!! My Karen. “Kal-Kal” – as her high school cohorts used to call her. For the record, that’s such a weird nickname for someone that won Homecoming Queen. But of course, it was the 70’s and everything was weird (The Rocky movies were so cheesy).
My mother would flourish if she grew up in this generation. She would probably have over a thousand followers on Twitter. On her birthday, a plethora of her girl friends would post Instagram photos of her on their own accounts just to give my mother birthday love. She would post new Facebook statuses and hundreds of people would “Like” it. She would experience greater educational advances, career opportunities, breakthrough technology, medical advances, and better movies. She could get on eHarmony and fall in love with my dad all over again. My bet is that Kal-Kal would have gone to a fancy university, hopefully Clemson University. In a cliché but simple tagline ….. “My mother would rule the world”.
When recently bringing this revelation up to my mother, she insisted that she would still prefer to have grown up in the time period of the 1970’s. She claims that today’s society has a deeper level of superficiality, narcissism, violence, and materialism. After I reiterated the powerful opportunities that she would be gaining, she still stood with the 1970’s. Her mother – my grandmother – was asked a similar question. Growing up in the 1930’s versus the 1970’s; It is obvious of the lack of opportunities that faced my grandmother. She even went on to say that her family was poor and everyone around them was poor. However, even as she is sill tangibly reminiscent of all she went through, she prefers to grow up again in her own time period. Her reasons were because the young people of the 70’s were more superficial, focused on completion, and craving material.
One may argue that past generations tends to romanticize theirs and criticize the ones after it. Here is the thing about that: My grandmother would have to be a fool to attempt to romanticize being a female AND living in the pre-civil rights era. What most of the older generations (religious or nonreligious) are trying to say is that everything – material, careers, economy, powers, fashion, money, music, tastes, health, family, friends – fades away. Life is hard and difficult and no one controls it. No one controls it. Therefore there is no sense in craving to live in an alternative generation. It cannot be escaped.
What matters is the soul. What matters is the direction the soul is pointing. A soul that points inward is useless. What matters is community that you can grow in Christ-like love with. For my mom to focus on having a thin, teenage body and being Homecoming Queen again would be a wasteful goal. What my mother, grandmother and Bible are inexplicitly stating is this:
Want to conquer social media? It is insatiable and a psychological hindrance.
Want to escape violence? There will always be evil.
Want a higher paying job? Money doesn’t bring eternal joy.
Want to do hot yoga & the Paleo diet? Your body will still inevitably betray you.
Love music? Songs become repetitive; i.e. Pharell’s hit song “Happy”
Want more friends? Friends will eventually let you down.
Want a spouse? A chunk of marriage is tough and stressful.
Want to be single? A chunk of singleness is lonely and stressful.
To be clear, it is not that any of those things are bad. It is more so that Life has taught them that their body is the only body they’ll ever have. Their mind is the only mind they’ll ever have. Externals fade. Therefore, for the believer, the end goal is the kingdom of Heaven and eternity with Jesus. Everything else – good or bad – fall to the waist side. Life is short and our time on earth is like dwindling grass … we must realize that we do not have enough time to focus on externals (James 4:14, Psalm 103:15-16, 1 Corin. 7:29-31). Only then can we begin to attain real joy! A merriment that makes the world see Jesus in us.
The Bible will say that individual “generations” are not the problem, but that the problem is the sinfulness of man (Mark 7:20-23, Romans 3:10-12). Knowingly so, no matter when or where we live … there will always be man present. The wise people see that the world is sinful and they themselves are guilty as well. The sooner we throw ourselves onto the grace and mercy of Christ the sooner we are transformed into correctly seeing that all that we have and all that we have been given in a very very different light. Whatever season you are in, be thankful and be ALL there. We should be weary to place our hope in fleeting success, material, or physical appearance. This concept is reflective of 1 Corinthians 10:31 which can be re-worded into this context by saying, “Whether you live in the 1930s, 1970s, 2000s, or 1400s, do life to the glory of God.”
I’m traveling home for the Independence Day. I will get to see me precocious 4 year-old nephew for the first time in almost 5 months. I’m beyond excited. He is my best friend. So there will be a ton of hugging and laughter. He’s into Spiderman now so I bought him a cool Spiderman toy to make him like me even more, haha. A time is coming when he’s not going to see me as the coolest person in the world anymore. A time is coming when I’m going to look at his generation with an odd look on my face thinking, “Good gosh this new generation is too superficial and materialistic.” Ooh the misconceptions of sin. Touche Satan. Thank God for the scriptures and the revelation of Christ. #boom