Enjoy this life.
I grew up in a religious tradition that, let’s just say, didn’t really emphasize enjoying this life. My religious tribe of origin, the Southern Baptist Convention, we weren’t much into enjoying this life. Parties weren’t our thing, not to suggest that you have to go to a party in order to enjoy this life. It’s just that we were people who thought the best parties would be in heaven, so we had better wait until then.
Don’t get me wrong, there was joy in our lives—the joy of family, of good music, of great food—it’s just that we were taught that you shouldn’t get carried away with those things, or any others for that matter.
Take dancing, for instance. Dancing was forbidden. But, truth be told, back in those days I liked to dance. My life partner, who would love for me to dance with her today, has a hard time believing that because it’s pretty hard to drag me on the dance floor today, but 40 years ago I could boogie.
In the mid-1970s my high school revived the tradition of “sock-hops” in the school gym, and I wanted to go. But the Rev. Howard Cook, pastor of Rutherwood Baptist Church at the time, said dancing was a sin. Don’t go to the sock-hop he told us. Dancing, he said, is a vertical manifestation of a horizontal desire. Don’t worry, I’m not going there, but even though I did sneak into a sock-hop or two, it seemed like life wasn’t filled with much joy back then. Joy had to wait for heaven.
But, the Rev. Cook’s admonition aside, I’ve become pretty convinced that God intends for us to enjoy this life, right here—right now, maybe even dance a bit if it brings us joy...