Charlie ‘Tremendous’ Jones made a lasting impression on me. Remember that tender scene in SPACED INVADERS when one of the Martian aliens was standing on the yellow line of a two-lane highway at night? He turned around just in time to be flattened by a vintage Ford truck, leaving the indelible imprint of “V8” on his bulbous forehead.
Charlie didn’t flatten me. In fact, he grabbed me and hugged me. But he left a real indelible impression on my heart. I miss him.
“How”, you ask, “did this, ah, Jones guy impress you?” So glad you asked.
He was speaking and as he did he said, “Tell a story, make a point. Make a point, tell a story. People love to hear stories. When you want them to remember a point you’re trying to make, tell a story along with it.”
What’s The Point?
Millenials all seem to have been dipped in superficial subjectivity. It’s what we of greater maturity called situation ethics. The Mills will agree to anything while looking into your eyes or sitting across the desk. But seventeen minutes later when they’re standing in Starbucks quaffing a pumpkin spice latte and feverishly texting somebody in France or Fort Wayne they’ve forgotten all about your agreement.
“Nobody expects anybody to keep their word. I know, right? Hey, they make everybody in a courtroom swear to tell the truth cuz they, like, expect them to, you know—lie a little.” Hmm. Maybe the ones most needing to swear to tell and carefully handle the truth are unelected activist judges who routinely overstep their assigned authority. I digress.
“It’s not really lying, you know? Everybody knows we don’t mean it.”
Right. Exactly. Therein lies the horrendous rot invading virtually every relationship. It’s no wonder they spend long hours right next to one another texting or blabbering with someone somewhere else. Dealing with real people has proven to be messy. They tend to hang onto what you tell them and hold you to it.
Especially those of us of earlier generations who remember what it was like to be able to trust what somebody told you. Or said about you.
So the point is that there’s a social malaise across generational lines: one’s word isn’t worth much.
And The Story Is . . .
I have witnessed many weddings. The dresses, tuxedos, the church decorations, and the food are what most focus on. Not me. Not this time.
I was enamored by the word… that one word.
The one-word answer to the question, “…do you take this woman to be your lawfully wedded wife?”
I expected the typical, “I do.” Those two words made both famous and infamous.
I was not expecting his answer.
A voice loud and clear rang out with a single-word response. It reverberated from the ceiling as his one word, filled with resolve, carried his answer throughout the church.
Far too often, “we do” but not absolutely. Our commitment is filled with ifs, ands, and buts. It makes us sound like a bunch of politicians.
We do as long as it’s convenient.
We do as long as it benefits us.
We do as long as it’s not painful.
We do as long as they remain beautiful or handsome.
We do as long as they keep their figure or buffed bod.
We do as long as the bills are paid.
We do as long they stay healthy.
We do as long as no one more exciting looks our way.
We do as long as it suits us.
Huh. Is this the way a couple approaches marriage? Should they have that kind of radical, over-the-top commitment that only one of their deaths will mess up? Now, really–does anyone really expect them to stay together like that?
Did the young couple standing in the church that day mean it?
Back to our point. . .
To what things or people in life are you truly committed? To whom, to what have you really said and meant, “Absolutely!”?
“I’ll be a stunning success by my untrustworthy half-committed attitude,” said nobody, ever.
The world is in desperate need of fully-involved, absolutely-committed men and women of vision, moral strength and integrity. But first our nation is in desperate need of fully-involved, absolutely-committed men and women of vision, moral strength and integrity. But first our state is in desperate need of fully-involved, absolutely-committed men and women of vision, moral strength and integrity. But first our city is in desperate need of fully-involved, absolutely-committed men and women of vision, moral strength and integrity. But first our neighborhood is in desperate need of fully-involved, absolutely-committed men and women of vision, moral strength and integrity. But first our home is in desperate need of fully-involved, absolutely-committed men and women of vision, moral strength and integrity. But first—-
You know where this is headed, right?
Me, too. This is pointed right at me. It’s personal, individual.
My marriage, home, neighborhood, city, state, nation and world is in desperate need of a fully-involved, absolutely-committed ME of vision, moral strength and integrity. A ‘me’ whose word stands. Whose resolve doesn’t fade with style or popularity.
What are you looking at? So does yours.
‘Absolutely’ will change things. Business. Society. Relationships. Worship. Recreation. Spiritual vitality. Health.
What won’t it change?
“But that’ll take lots of time. It means I gotta be really involved and more responsible. It means I hafta make some serious changes that I don’t really want to think about. Do I have to?”
No. You get to.
© D. Dean Boone September 2013