This week we politely applauded at our second Courtesy Attendance of Joseph and the Amazingly Godless Technicolor Dreamcoat within one year. It felt like a last straw.
We are really quite intentional (one might even say stingy) about our popular "entertainment." We do not have a TV; we do not listen to the radio; we indulge in very little popular music, and that is usually jazz or blues, actually; we do not read fluffy books because we do not enjoy them; we got rid of Facebook; our Netflix queue is all serene Japanese movies and Shakespeare; the movie theatre tickets that some cool parents from our school have given us for Christmas two years in a row are starting to pile up because we just find it overwhelming.
It might sound grim or snobby, but we just don't have time for that crap because we're too busy (a.) teaching, (b.) going to church a lot and (c.) studying and reading books we like. All of those activities require a certain prepared mindfulness that often dissipates at the touch of the banal. (Every time I use that word I feel like Stewie from Family Guy.)
I understand the need to turn off the brain and just enjoy yourself. I just don't find that enjoyable for very long. We do, however, watch the Simpsons and some British comedy. And heaven knows that we like to drink. So I was confused for a couple days about why I am such a party-pooper when other people are raving about ... well, the things that most people rave about. And the best answer that I can come up with is that as I said above, we generally indulge in "entertainment" much less than most people, and it sucks when you have to spend four hours of your time watching a musical that is only still in production because of baby boomer nostalgia. I think that's really it. We are just over lowbrow indulgent references to our parents' youths. I would probably indulge a lot more in popular culture if I felt like it was my popular culture. But after this damn education I just don't think I can enjoy the lower things unless they're a self-conscious relaxation of higher standards. I will probably always enjoy Monty Python for that reason. And I have to confess that I would of course spend less time reading philosophy if I were around lots of people my age who were doing things that I thought were more fun. (See my GPA to substantiate this claim.)
Until then, I'm just going to keep going to church (where we are really happy) and blogging myself into a very small corner.
So that you don't think I'm as misanthropic as I probably sound (which I can't deny when I use the word "banal,") I have to say that Communion was truly a taste of heaven at Pre-Sanctified Liturgy last night. I know they turn the lights up slowly for a certain effect, but honestly it seemed like everyone's faces were glowing from the inside. I love Psalm 34, which is chanted alternately with the communion hymn,
Taste and see how good the Lord is!
There's always some single verse which really hooks me, and this time it was
They looked to him and were radiant, and their faces were not ashamed.
A couple of days ago I wrote about how I could not see my way out of my shame, but as I looked around and saw all of these dear, good people clothed in wedding garments, holding their lamps, waiting hopefully for the Bridegroom, I longed for my soul to burn as bright and clear as the lamps which hung before the saints. And I felt that that longing lifted me above the poison and squalor in which I've been drowning for so long, and I know that it's partly because I was longing alongside all these lovers.
It just feels so different. I mean after simply remembering that gladsome light, I already feel a huge difference from a half an hour ago, when I was googling "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat sucks" to see if anyone agreed with me (I couldn't find anyone who did.) Even if I had found someone who agreed with me, I still would have been alone, non?