It's Time to Party
May-June 1989 The Door
Recently, my wife and I were having our devotions and reading our favorite devotional guide, Cosmopolitan. In it was another one of those mindless quizzes. (You know the ones: How Responsible Are You? How Sensual Are You? Do You Have ESP? Will Your Marriage Last?) One of the questions caught my eye. It said:
Which one would you prefer?
a) A wild, turbulent life filled with joy, sorrow, passion, and adventure -- intoxicating successes and stunning setbacks, or
b) A happy, secure, predictable life surrounded by many friends and family, without such wide swings of fortune and mood?
I thought the answer was obvious. Everyone, I thought, would choose the first option. I was shocked to discover that a good majority would choose the second option. And then it occurred to me: I have been working with adolescents for the past twenty-nine years. And, when I ask them to describe adults, one word always comes up -- borrrrring.
As I began to think about it, I realized that most adults I know are boring. They don't have fun anymore. Oh sure, get a few drinks under their belts and they act alive for awhile. But that's not what I mean. I'm talking about being and acting alive all the time.
The truth is that games are wasted on the young. Little kids don't know how to play games. Remember when you were seven years old and you played hide and seek? You'd hide behind a telephone pole with half your body hanging out. No, hide and seek isn't for children. It's for people like you and me. Now that I am forty-six, I know how to hide. I'm a darn good hider.
I have suggested a game of hide and seek to many adult audiences and I am always amazed at the response. I see adults all throughout the group nudging each other, quietly discussing a great hiding place they just thought of, secretly planning a game with their children. It doesn't take much to make most of us realize that we have become too serious, too tense, too stressful. The result is that we have forgotten how to live life. It seems like the older we get, the more difficult it is for us to enjoy living. It reminds me of a description given by the Rabbi Edward Cohn:
"Life is tough. It takes up a lot of your time, all your weekends, and what do you get in the end of it?. . . I think that the life cycle is all backward. You should die first, get it out of the way. Then you live twenty years in an old age home. You et kicked out when you're too young. You get a gold watch, you go to work. You work forty years until you're young enough to enjoy your retirement. Yo go to college; you party until you're ready for high school; you go to grade school; you become a little kid; you play. You have no responsibilities. You become a little baby; you go back into the womb; you spend your last months floating; and you finish up as a gleam in somebody's eye."
It's hard to imagine we were a gleam in someone's eye once. What happened to the gleam in our eye? What happened to that joyful, crazy, spontaneous, fun-loving spirit we once had? That childlikeness in all of us gets snuffed out over the years.
A.W. Tozer once said, "This society has put out the light in men's souls." He had it right. The more pagan a society becomes, the more boring its people become. The sign that Jesus is in our hearts, the evidence of the truth of the Gospel is . . . we still have a light on in our souls. We still have a gleam in our eye. We are alive, never boring, always playful, exhibiting in our everydayness the "spunk" of the Spirit.
the light in our souls is not some pious somberness. It is the spontaneous, unpredictable love of life. Christians are not just people who live godly lives. We are people who know how to live period. Christians are not just examples of moral purity. We are also people filled with a bold mischievousness. Christians not only know how to practice piety. We also know how to party.
I believe it's time for the party to begin.
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