This morning I listened to a song that I’ve heard a hundred times before. It’s called Boys (Lesson One) by Jars of Clay.
I’ve listened to it for four years, but I didn’t understand what it really meant until today. I mean, I knew the backstory. It is a song that the lead singer Dan Haseltine wrote for his sons. But I never knew what it really was saying.
So you know who you are
And you know what you want
I’ve been where you’re going
And it’s not that far
It’s too far to walk
But you don’t have to run
You’ll get there in time
Today it clicked. I am that person. The first 2 lines… about knowing what you want. They’re sarcasm. Nobody knows who they are or what they want. But as a teen, you think you just might. And with that, you’re off to the races. You want to grow up as fast as you can; to escape the childhood that holds you down. But unbeknownst to you, that innocence is easy to break free of.
The world takes hold quickly. Grow up. Be mature. Find a job. Disregard your beliefs. Let go of who you are.
And you. You can do one of two things. You can fight as hard as you can. You can hold on to integrity and spirit, but at what cost? Or you can adapt to society’s unrealistic ideas of beauty, interests, or social roles. Either way it’s hard to make it out with your soul intact. Because you suddenly look up at the clock.
You’re twenty-two. You’re walking the bridge above a deep chasm. Nostalgic childhood unattainable on one side, and adulthood, the death of innocence, on the other.
The writer of this song begs his sons not to hurry. To understand that, while success may be there to grasp, there is nothing across that can ever measure up to the joy of childhood. That there’s no escaping doubt and responsibility once you find it. That Neverland doesn’t exist.
I’ve been turning from a boy to a man and there’s nothing I can do about it. I don’t dread it; I hated high school and some of the things of my past. But I see so many adults who don’t understand what it’s like to be a person. The person they are fell, and only an archetype of their true self remains. It’s why people’s marriages fail. It’s why people make bad leaders. It’s why adults can’t understand how to love God.
I know that just this understanding will help me be who I want to be, but I’m scared. I want to be more than the sum of my parts. No matter what happens, I still want to be Matt, the person that God did such a wonderful job of making. I’m in the transition phase that really counts. This time the training wheels have come off.
Life is so short. I know that I’ve got plenty of my life left to live, but I fear next time I look up at the clock, I’ll be 40 and my life will be halfway over.
[Thanks to J.R. Southerland for at least inspiring this blog, even if it may be a lot more personal than what you were expecting.]