But I got addicted… and after that first time, I decided to officially change my format of writing about you, to where I write to you.
Exactly a year has passed since that night I sat at our coffee table and cried so hard, realizing my love for you.
Tonight, I’m less emotional in that sense. Instead, I’m feeling fully grounded in how I feel about you and how I understand my love for you.
Instead of a groundbreaking ephiphany, today I simply am grateful for the gift of peace of mind and heart; a gift the world can not give.
In this moment, that is my life. I think of that song, “On Top Of The World” by Imagine Dragons, to describe how I feel about you and me:
“I’m on top of the world, ‘ay
Waiting on this for a while now
Paying my dues to the dirt
I’ve been waiting to smile, ‘ay
Been holding it in for a while, ‘ay
Take you with me if I can
Been dreaming of this since a child
I’m on top of the world.”
I’m pretty sure we have the same basic struggles and weaknesses as most families out there; despite the religous affiliation.
It’s just as easy for me to crop out the rough spots for social media, as the next parent on Facebook could- and instead, post a geniunely positive photo for everyone to see, as if the cloudy and stormy days never happened.
A strong marriage and family provides a more stable support unit for the good, the bad, and the ugly that makes up what life is all about. To me, that is real love and real life.
I also mentioned in my letter the importance of being the kind of love we want to receive. I told how love isn’t easy; it’s hard work, a true investment- not simply a given.
While others could surely and easily disagree with my wording, that’s how I see it.
And now, as I write this today, there’s a related blog post that is going viral. It’s so viral, it’s currently impossible to look at my Facebook news feed without seeing at least a half a dozen people of sharing it in any given hour.
The author, Seth Adam Smith, is not a famous writer; at least, if he wasn’t a famous writer before, he’s probably becoming one now. He managed to publish a simple, yet revolutionary idea that is totally resonating with people I know.
In the post, he quotes his father’s words of wisdom:
“Marriage isn’t for you. You don’t marry to make yourself happy, you marry to make someone else happy. More than that, your marriage isn’t for yourself, you’re marrying for a family. Not just for the in-laws and all of that nonsense, but for your future children… Marriage isn’t for you. It’s not about you. Marriage is about the person you married.”
So perfectly said.
I think that like most people, I went into the article thinking it was going to explain that certain people just aren’t good at, or ready for, being married.
Instead, he totally surprised me with a fresh concept: Marriage isn’t for me.
This Seth Adam Smith guy is on to something. I’m going to be mindful of his (and his father’s) words for everyday of the rest of my life.
I wish I could think of a more clever title than that, but that’s the best way to summarize how I see it.
If only it was as easy as two people falling in love and having babies and it all automatically working out after that…
Like marriage, maintaining a positively functioning family is hard work. It’s an investment.
Our lives spent together as a family are enriched because we accept the challenges and mysteries of everyday life together. But being a family doesn’t magically fix things.
The way I see it, a strong family must be built and nurtured. I can’t expect to be completely fulfilled by you and Mommmy.
That would be putting way too much pressure and responsibility on both of you. In the same way, I can’t make your life perfect and complete simply because I’m part of your family.
Being part of a family means agreeing to go through the worst parts of life together with the same passion and acceptance as we do the best parts.
It’s a priviledge, a responsibility, and a blessing.
I don’t mean to seem so fatalistic or gloomy about it, but I do believe that love is long suffering. I believe that’s part of what a family’s love is all about. Yet, I believe that same love is also kind.
And that it doesn’t envy; that it doesn’t parade itself. It’s not puffed up; it doesn’t behave rudely. It doesn’t seek after a selfish agenda.
I believe love is not provoked and doesn’t think evil or rejoice in iniquity, but instead, in truth.
The way I see it, our family’s love must bear all things, believe all things, hope all things, and endure all things.
And I believe love never fails.
Yes, that’s easier to say than to live out on a daily and lifelong basis. I know.
Because love is not automatic or easy. It’s a choice.
Maybe it’s too naive to aim for perfect love in our family, but I do know that perfect love drives out fear.
I can’t expect things just to work out for us because we are a family. I have to be the kind of love I want to receive in our family.
To me, this is what real love is actually about. It’s a little too real sometimes.
As parents we have to be very aware of what our children are exposed to, especially in our own homes.
So what would change if there was no censorship on TV?
I think it’s only natural for our first reaction to possibly be that we assume there would automatically be constant f-words and racial slurs, marathons of pornography, and live assassinations and other types of violent, bloody viewings of people losing their lives.
The funny thing is, people who want to see those kind of things are able to watch them any time they want… on the Internet, where there already is no censorship.
But TV is much different than the Internet; TV more controllably directs millions of people to one program at once, therefore making sponsorship a more fickle thing.
There’s this whole concept of “things you can’t say or do on TV” but the truth is, we the people, the free market, are the ones deciding the ultimate standards we see on television.
The halftime show of Super Bowl XXXVIII is the best example I can think of. Yeah, that was the one with the infamous “Janet Jackson, Justin Timberlake” incident.
It’s safe to say that the majority of those people who complained were parents who were offended by what the network allowed their children to see on TV.
My best understanding of censorship on television is this:
Each TV network has its own censors, who decide what subject matter is too racy or vulgar to keep them in good standing with A) The FCC and B) their viewers.
In other words, the TV networks are simply making an effort to avoid getting fined and losing viewers, which means they lose sponsors for their programs.
For example, American society has decided that the word “sh–” is too vulgar to be spoken on the major networks, meanwhile, “g.d.” is not.
In fact, this past Friday I watched Primetime: What Would You Do? where “sh–” was bleeped out but “g.d.” was clearly spoken, uncensored.
Even a decade ago, “g.d.” was still too taboo for us to hear on TV without flinching.
But speaking of breaking the 3rd commandment, using God’s name in vain, I think we’ve got things a bit mixed up.
We tend to think of “g.d.” as meaning “curse God” when really it’s the other way around; “God-cursed.” In its worst use, “g.d.” is like saying “God forsaken” because the worst way to be cursed by God is to be sentenced to a state of being where He is not present.
But I think it’s safe to say that none of us are offended by hearing “God forsaken” even though it means the same thing as “g.d.”
Ironically, what isn’t really offensive anymore to hear on TV is when people say “Oh my God!” which seems to be the unofficial catch-phrase of the show, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.
(I’ve noticed that’s what people yell repeatedly when they enter their new house for the first time.)
To me, “Oh my God” is more offensive than “g.d.” because “Oh my God” is so careless; at least “g.d.” indirectly recognizes God’s sovereignty.
I use this example of “g.d.” to point out this: Obscenity is simply in the perception of the individual, or more relevantly, the majority.
So to answer the question of what would change if there was no censorship on TV, I’d say it would be this:
Many people would be less likely to watch TV, not having a guideline of what to expect.
The flip side is that TV networks would probably be even more conservative on what they allowed on their programs, without having official censors working for them to professionally protect them.
Censorship serves to protect TV networks from losing money, not to protect us from what we don’t want to see or hear.
Otherwise, we’d be more careful to censor the TV ourselves; which is why I don’t watch much on TV to begin with.
Jack loves reading. In other words, he loves looking at the pages of a book for the purpose of identifying the animals so that he can make their appropriate sounds.
The book he is currently obsessed over is The Beginner’s Bible; a children’s cartoon version of the stories in the Bible. Why does he insist of reading it all the way to daycare and back everyday? Because he’s just that spiritual of a toddler? Or…
To practice his animal sounds.
A couple of minutes into the car ride each day, I hear “Sssssss…”. That means Jack sees a picture of Satan, as a serpent, tempting Adam and Eve with the forbidden fruit.
Five minutes later, it’s “Bzzzzzz…”. Yeah, that’s the Seven Plagues on Egypt; the gnats and lice to be exact.
I’ll hear various spurts of “Pffffttt…”. That would be Jack’s very impressive impression of what a camel sounds like: There are plenty of random pictures of men riding camels throughout the book.
Eventually I hear “bah-bah,” Jack’s version of a donkey, which means Jesus is making his triumphal entry into Jerusalem… on a donkey, of course.
And then for the rest of the book, there aren’t so many animals anymore; mainly just bearded men in robes talking to each other.
Each time Jack gets to this point, he just starts laughing.
It took me a solid week to figure out what was so funny. I’m pretty sure it’s because Jack has never seen a man in real life with a big bushy beard.
So he’s laughing at the brown sheep’s butts on men’s faces. Or, beards, as we recognize them in the non-cartoon world.
Yes, my toddler son leads his own Bible study twice a day in the back seat of my car. Technically.