Tuesday, June 8, 2010

La Vida Loca...

(photo from www.kovacevic.nl)
My apologies to the guy from Menudo that grew up and went on to record a song by this title a few years ago, I can't remember his name right now. I guess I could look it up, but it's really not relevant. I apologize because this blog has nothing to do with that song. Yeah, it was a catchy little dance tune, I guess, but today I'm perplexed by the thought of living the crazy life.

I'm still in Ecclesiastes this morning, chapters, 7, 8, and 9, and what the author is writing today is almost depressing. Yesterday I mentioned how the author of Ecclesiastes had said that there were just some things in life that were like chasing after the wind. Well, today, he...or she...hits a lot harder on the idea that much of life is just plain meaningless. This hits me especially hard today because of the fact that my dad, and his siblings, lost a brother yesterday, much too young.

But then the author of Ecclesiastes says something that caught my attention. It's probably recorded at other places in scripture, but here, in the midst of cries about how meaningless life is, he, or she, says, "Go, eat your food with gladness, and drink your wine with a joyful heart, for it is now that God favors what you do. Always be clothed in white, and always anoint your head with oil. Enjoy life with your wife, whom you love, all the days of this meaningless life...whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might..."

As a pastor, society says that I'm not supposed to do that, you know, live la vida loca. Dog gone it, though, life is short. As a pastor, some would think that my life is to be very stoic... studious... reserved... and the exact opposite of crazy. But I'm not buying that anymore. I spend time in study. I spend time in meditation. When I have to be serious, I can be. But when it's all added up, how much living would I actually have done if I didn't let the "la vida loca" slip in every once and a while?

Now, the church historian in me knows why the author probably wrote these words. From what I've been taught, the ancient Jewish idea of the afterlife was that we just entered into a deep sleep. There wasn't this concept of eternal life after death like we have in Christianity. At least that's how I understood it. So, why not? Why not eat your food with gladness and drink your wine with a joyful heart?

Now, I'm not encouraging folks to go out and rip it up all the time, that would be careless of me. But even John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, from what I've heard, took a glass of wine every night, strictly for medicinal purposes of course.

I guess what I'm saying is this: enjoy what you've got. Find those moments to steal a little joy. Go out with your friends (I've got very dear friends that live away from here whom I would love to be able to go out with). Enjoy a good meal with your family. Kick back on the porch and watch the sun go down...or come up. Take a little time to savor the "right now." Call somebody you haven't talked to in a while and tell them you were thinking about them. Be free with saying "I love you." Have a night on the town every now and then. Try to find things to make you laugh, you know, a deep belly laugh.

A lot of folks now see me as this carefree, "really don't care what you think," kind of person, but when I was growing up, my mom called me her "Eight year old little old man." I didn't even know how to be a kid when I was a kid. I still don't really know how to kick back and relax, enjoy a good meal, or even a glass of wine, because there is always something that needs to be done. I've been too serious for too long. But now, writer of Ecclesiastes, I hear you, and I think I'm going to give it a try. I'm very nearly 40 years old and it's time that I gave myself permission to have a little fun with life.

I hope that you can find some way to live "la vida loca," within reason of course. We can still be great Christians... reverent... reflective... responsible. We can still be all grown up when we need to be. But wouldn't it be fun to do something crazy just once? Just because there is so much in life that tries to get us down? Life is way too short.

Oh, and the guy's name was Enrique Martin Morales, but you know him as Ricky Martin.


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