Sunday, April 02, 2006

Blasphemy

Believe it or not, these words were uttered by Jenny and me this weekend:
Jenny: I'm getting sick of the Messiah
Nick: I just wish Jesus would stop going so flat...

So, are we apostates? Are we sunstone subscribers? Will I soon be starting my own church of faithful followers, lulling them down to Belize where we'll live the united order safe from the evil American government? All I can tell you is, we most definitely do not subscribe to sunstone.

As it so happens, Jenny and I drove up to Boise this weekend to show off Lucy to her great grandparents. Jenny's Grandpa kept on subliminally suggesting that we come up (100$ check in the mail with "gas money" written on the "for" line), so we thought conference weekend would be as good a week as any, packed Lucy up- and by that I mean pack up all of her possessions a la Princess Vespa in Spaceballs (her suitcase was MUCH larger than ours), and made the trip up. We love taking road trips- we can go hours without talking, absorbed in all the beautiful spacious scenery as it crawls by, or sometimes we talk deeper than we often talk at home. Something about being in a car together for a long stretch of time far away from civilization changes the relationship dynamic just enough that we often talk about subjects that we never seem to have time for in the usual routine.

On some of those long stretches of road absent any conversation, we'll sometimes (not always) have some music on. Returning from Boise, it being Sunday and all we listened to Handel's Messiah from "Surely he hath Borne our Grief and Carried Our Sorrow" all the way to "Worthy the Lamb". I love the Messiah. Both of them, actually, the song and it's namesake. Ever since our stake performed it last year I think I've listened to it on average once a week. Next year when we do it again I want to try out for the "The Trumpet Shall Sound" solo. (Why do I always almost say "the Strumpet shall sound"?) Parts of that song are easily among the most moving I've heard.

As you might have guessed, Jenny was referring to the song, not the namesake, when she said she was sick of the Messiah, as we had been listening to it for the better part of two hours when she switched it off. So, no, we're not apostates. Except for when I chose to watch a basketball game on TV instead of go to the priesthood session of conference. GASP! Ok, now they really are apostates, you say. Basketball over priesthood? Especially when we know Nick has never willingly watched any organized game of ANYTHING on TV before? Blasphemy indeed.

No, no blasphemy. Not today. The week is young, but not today. I watched it for Jenny's Grandpa. He's a sports nut of the worst kind. Grandpa is to sports as women are to chocolate as Liberals are to detached cynicism. I bet if they had portable walkmans back in 1939 he would have been secretly listening to the big game even while saying "I do". Being a male trying to marry one of his granddaughters, my first meeting with grandpa involved being 'treated' to an Emmett Idaho high school basketball game. Go Huskies! Every conversation we have revolves either around my garden, or consists of him talking sports and me trying to fake it. I've gotten pretty good: "George Mason is pretty good on their defense, but they weren't shooting very well from the field". Well did I have you convinced during that sentence that I knew what I was talking about? Impressive, huh? That's 4 years of practice talking with Grandpa.

Anyway, Grandpa is 89, his wife is in a care center with advanced alsheimers, and he is a recent convert to the church. But instead of trying to pressure him into going to priesthood session with us, I heartily accepted his invitation to watch "the big game". I'm sure it meant much, much more to him that his grandkids did something with their grandpa they knew was important to him rather than falling asleep in the stake center. Falling asleep to the sound of a crowd cheering is much more fun.

So is doing what you're "supposed" to do always the right thing to do? The grin on our grandpa's face said resoundingly 'no'. When I'm in Belize with my flock I'll read to them over the pulpit the priesthood session that I missed this weekend.

Oh, and that bit about Jesus going flat referred to the guy singing Jesus' lines in our Easter program this year for our stake. I'm pretty sure the real Jesus doesn't go flat.

4 comments:

JonnyF said...

Of course doing what you’re “supposed” to do isn’t always the right thing to do. Think of Nephi and Laban. There are other examples too. That's one of the reasons why we have the Light of Christ and one of the reasons the Holy Ghost is so helpful. God can't tell us what is right in every situation in scripture, it would take forever to read. No general authority has said "You should go to priesthood session even if your recent convert grandpa-in-law wants you to watch basketball with him."
Speaking of faking enjoyment of sports. . .
My Dad and many of my siblings are obsessed with BYU sports. I was too as a child. Now I'm not so interested in sports in general, including BYU sports, partly because of my mission (I didn't watch a football game for two years and I didn't miss it) and partly because of Katie (she thinks going to a sports game is somewhat like a perverted religious ceremony (special clothes you're supposed to wear, special things you can and can't say, etc.) except with more hot dogs). It don't hate watching sports. In fact, I can enjoy it if I mute the TV (I'm not interested in "Well, Bob, I think the key strategy for the Falcons is going to be to score more points.") and put on some music (I recommend Kansas for football games). I never go out of my way to follow any sports or teams, though. However, I would continue to go to games occasionally as a way to spend time with my family. Because I was once one of them, I know the lingo and can talk about the game, sing the fight song, etc. to a satisfactory degree. Of course problems arise when my dad or my brother wants to discuss the intricacies and implications of what happened during the most recent BYU football/basketball/whatever game that I didn't watch.
Katie and I went to California for Christmas last year. Once we finalized our plans and bought our plane tickets my Dad announced that he was taking everyone down to Las Vegas to watch BYU play in the Las Vegas Bowl a few days before Christmas. My mom and Katie refused to go, and the rest of the family reluctantly agreed that they didn't have to if they didn't want to. The thought of a 18-hour round trip car ride to see a football game didn't appeal to me either, especially since Katie wasn't going. I didn't have the same excuse as Katie (unlike Katie, I am a Fredrickson by birth and was not 6 months pregnant), so I ended up going. It was all right, but I could have done without it.
Anyway, I guess I told that whole story to give Nick some moral support.

Nick said...

I think the thing I like most about Jon's writing is the parenthetical comments embedded in parenthetical comments.

Thanks for the moral support.

JonnyF said...

That's how I think and talk. Trying to figure out what is going on with nested parentheses is about as confusing as trying to keep track of all my tangents when I am talking (for the reader/listener as well as for myself). Doh!

JonnyF said...

After reading my long comment, I realized I exaggerated a little bit (creative license, I guess). I really do enjoy spending time with my family, including sporting events and car rides. The Las Vegas Bowl was fun too. But my point is still valid: I wouldn't bother if my family didn't enjoy it so much.