Thursday, February 21, 2013

"We don't even have to try -- it's always a good time!"

When I was reading the newspaper a couple of weeks ago, I noticed a list of the five most downloaded pop songs of that week -- and I knew all of them. What does that mean?  Well, for one thing, it means I have a 14-year-old daughter.  For a while there, Allison was spending almost every moment between after-school and bedtime listening to the radio.  (She even did her homework with the radio on, which seems like it would be awfully distracting -- but I did exactly the same thing at her age, so I can't really complain.)  Anyway, we quickly became very familiar with all the songs.  Allison doesn't seem to mind that her parents know the songs she likes; she even seems to enjoy it when we say (jokingly) things like, "Jonathan, I knew you were trouble when you walked in."  (Apologies to Taylor Swift.)

I'm a sucker for a catchy tune, so one song I enjoy is a fun, playful, innocent number called "Good Time" by Carly Rae Jepsen and Adam Young (a Christian musician who's also known as "Owl City").  It's not profound, just an upbeat song about getting together with your friends and having a -- wait for it -- good time.  The chorus is simple:

Good morning and good night
I wake up at twilight
It's gonna be all right
We don't even have to try --  it's always a good time.

I was thinking about these lyrics for a couple of reasons.  One is that, as I mentioned in an earlier post, I'm re-reading Pride & Prejudice as part of a synchro-read with Classical Quest.  And it really struck me how Jane, the oldest Bennet sister, has a natural tendency to see the good in everyone and everything.  I'm certainly not like that:  my habitual first reaction to many things is to be critical and judgmental.  So when I was considering whether I should give up anything for Lent, I decided, "No, I'm not going to give up something, I'm going to do something.  I'm going to look for the good, like Jane."

I'm finding it's not that easy.  Maybe it's because my habitual first reaction is to be critical and judgmental (did I already mention that?).  But I'm working on it.  And today I had a neat encounter.  I was heading downtown and had to stop at a mailbox to mail a letter for an elderly neighbour.  A woman was standing near the mailbox waiting for a bus; as I stepped past her she said, "Hi, how are you?" It was apparent that she was developmentally handicapped.  I said, "Good, how are you?"  I posted my letter, and as I went to leave she said, "Bye now, you have a good day."  I wished her the same and turned away with a smile on my face.

Then I realized, some people (like this woman, and Jane Bennet, and Jonathan) really don't have to try.  It's not a huge effort for them to look on the bright side or give the benefit of the doubt.  For them, life is good, and everyone they meet is a friend.  It's always a good time!

This was another good reminder to be more accepting, more open-minded, and less inclined to judge.  Maybe it's possible for this mindset to become as natural as breathing, not a forced effort.  I still have 33 more days to go in Lent, so maybe I'll find that out.


  1. This is why Jane and Bingley make such a sweet match. I can't imagine how they could EVER be fractious with each other! :D

    Love these thoughts, Jeannie! I believe I will try to be a little more like Jane today too!

    1. Thanks, Adriana! And I am really enjoying rereading P&P. Sometimes I'm laughing out loud & other times I'm pondering the kind of society they (and we) live in.

  2. Seeing how someone else does something can be a great model, Jeannie, even if the person is a fictional character like Jane Bennet. We could all do with a little more JB in us.

    1. That's right, Tim; thanks. It would be interesting to ponder, say, what 5 fictional characters we'd most like to emulate. Material for another post!

    2. Not in any particular order: Jane Bennet, Hermione Granger, Lucy Pevensie, Hal Jordan and Sir Percy Blakeney. Henry Tilney gets honorable mention.

    3. Marmee March, Atticus Finch, √Āntonia Shimerda, first mate Starbuck, Cornflower Fieldmouse -- and yes Jane Bennet now that you mention it! That makes six!

    4. And Tim, Lucy Pevensie & Sir PB are great choices. (I'm not very familiar with the other characters.) Loved the Scarlet Pimpernel. I read it in 7th grade and I had NO idea who the Scarlet Pimpernel was. The suspense was positively delicious.

      Who would you like to emulate Jeannie?

    5. I don't recognize all of your or Tim's choices so that's very interesting. Yes I remember the Scarlet Pimpernel too: "They seek him here, they seek him there..."

      - Marmee March is a great choice so I'll just echo that one: I would love to be that wise a mother.
      - Neville Longbottom in Harry Potter because he's an ordinary nerdy person who faces his fears head-on (and also because the scene in Deathly Hallows when he climbs out of the painting is one of the most exciting I've ever read)
      - Elinor Dashwood b/c she's very sensible and thoughtful, and b/c I'd like to live in the cottage by the seaside.
      - Gerty Farish in The House of Mirth because she is truly selfless and kind, even at her own expense.
      - Mr. Knightley because he treats people of every social class with respect.
      I think I could probably keep going! ....

    6. Well, Hermione Granger is only the most talented witch of her generation! At least, that's what the instructors at Hogwarts said. I also think she's brave and level-headed and loyal and exactly the person I'd want beside me whether it was a magical moment or time to slug someone (I'm looking at you, Draco Malfoy!).

      Hal Jordan is the best Green Lantern of them all:

      In brightest day, in blackest night
      No evil shall escape my sight
      Let those who worship Evil's might
      Beware my power, Green Lantern's light!

    7. By the way, Wayne & Shuster (a Canadian comedy duo we watched when I was a kid) used to do spoofs of Shakespeare & other classics. Their riff on "The Scarlet Pimpernel" was called "The Brown Pumpernickel": instead of leaving his calling card with the flower on it, he'd leave brown loaves of bread, much to the frustration of the authorities. Here's a clip:

    8. I've heard good things about The House of Mirth. It's on my TBR for WEM. Eventually I'll get around to reading the Harry Potter series. It's pretty much banned in my neck of the woods. OK not really, but let's just say it would cause some raised eye brows. Seriously promiscuous. It might even bring back my heckler.

    9. It does have Bible verses in it ... is that any help? No, I understand that for some people HP goes over a line, just by having wizardry as its theme. Yet it's clear throughout that the ideal is to use one's powers for good (hence the students take classes on how to defend against the Dark Arts).

  3. I am a friendly sort... it's more when you get to know me that my cracks appear: impatience being a primary one. Well I'm working on control - that aspect of impatience that tells me if only everyone would move to my schedule everything would get done just as it should. Hmm. Not to be too self-critical, but Jeannie it's a great idea to look at change and what we can do rather than what we shouldn't. So, your post suggests it's time for me to let things take a natural course and though I may cringe internally at first, I'll aim to keep my impatience to myself. Eventually, I reckon it'll disappear (or else I'll explode). Thanks for the post!

    1. I certainly get you on this one, Sarah; I tend to be impatient as well, wanting to correct and set others straight b/c they don't do/think what I think they should! So it is not a natural thing for me to seek the good in what people are doing, thinking, or saying. I guess it is a spiritual practice in a sense! Thanks for sharing.


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