It’s been a long time since I was 21, but I seem to remember it being a time of great energy. When Joe and I were invited to someone’s 21st birthday party, I wasn’t sure I really wanted to go. It was in Dingwall for a start and driving at night is something that has never appealed. It was on a Friday night and at the end of fairly challenging week I would rather that climbed into my TV watching clothes instead of pouring myself into the sparkly jumper. I had also become quite obsessed about my roots needing touched up and although I had a “root-touching up kit” in the bathroom , I didn’t really have the time (before “Strictly – It takes Two”) to wait the required amount of minutes.
I have this thing about arriving on time. Maybe, just lately, at some of the mid-week church meetings, I arrive not so much on time, but in time. Our new boss at work gave everyone a severe telling off a few weeks ago about the value of punctuality. It doesn’t seem to apply to parties though. We were well early. The only other people who were that early were the immediate family of the birthday girl. Incidentally the birthday girl looks very much like Julia Stiles, and I liked her hair cut.
This party did not really ignite. The venue was huge. There was a huge dance floor. Just about everyone occupied the space between the bar and the last row of tables.
Had I been the DJ I might have just left a very long playing record of the turntable and gone home! Actually, now I think about it…. During my short time in South Africa, I became acquainted with “boom boom buses”. The Indian population travelled about the city in minibuses blaring with music. The bass would be turned up so loud that the bus throbbed with the constant beat. The DJ began with that kind of music. The transition from one song to another was entirely spot on – one booming bass line to another booming base line. I rather thought it was probably what people who are 21 dance to or listen to these days. The 21 year olds present might have been listening, but they weren’t dancing. I snuck a glimpse at the watch to see if I had stayed long enough to not be rude if I left.
It seems to me that, if you are going to have that volume of music you aught to dance because the option of yelling into the ear of the person sitting next to you just doesn’t work! But converse we did!
It would appear that the TV watching world is split between The X Factor and Strictly Come Dancing. We found a tenuous connection between the two when Joe mentioned having watched the American version of Stictly and Marie Osmond being on it. From there was moved on to talk about Donny (Isn’t he gorgeous?). It was at this point that, had the music not been throbbing so loudly, we would have had more time to follow up on a throw-away comment. It was suggested that Donny’s clean living Mormon lifestyle was something to do with him wearing well, and not looking his age. (I seem to remember mentioning my 50th birthday coming up next March and there was no chorus from the audience “No? Surely not? You don’t look it!”) Anyway, that led the conversation to whether following a religious faith made you “too good”. There was this idea that there was something almost unhealthy about being too good! In their experience, church, or some level of belief in God did not have the same effect on them. They seemed to think that faith should act as a kind of vaccine protecting you from hard times and various disasters. The “Mormon” vaccine appeared to be working for Donny, but for everyone else it didn’t work…and should it work anyway? Aren’t we all better off for the struggles and trials?
What a wonderful opportunity to talk about the realities of faith! I saw it! I recognised the chance given! But I also recognised that I couldn’t compete with the boom boom background. And the DJ announced the buffet was open. Perhaps if there had been no boom boom and no buffet, I would still have kept quiet. They were Joe’s work mates. Maybe it was the wrong venue. They were there to party. And maybe those are just really feeble excuses!
From my experience faith is not a vaccine. It opens you up to a whole load of hard times and disasters that the people of no faith don’t encounter. They don’t worry about God’s silences. They don’t expect prayers to be answered, or people to be healed. God in the equation sometimes generates more questions than it answers!
But “too good”? I wonder if people look at my life and think – “She’s just too good for it to be good for her!” Ask the people I meet at work everyday. They will give you a very clear answer!