Monday, October 22, 2007

Life according to Kenny Chesney lyrics

My man Kenny Chesney (who even three months ago I would have derided but who I'm now comfortable calling my man) sings this song "Beer in Mexico" that's been fairly constant in my head over the past couple months. The idea is that Chesney is at this crossroads of his life (he even says as much...actually those are his exact same words) and is trying to figure out where to go next. He's too old to be wild and free but too young to be over the hill. He's asking all these questions before feeling overwhelmed (my interpretation) and saying "screw it, I'm going to sit on the beach, have a beer and worry about this tomorrow."

Anyway, the song builds to a point where Chesney asks "Should I settle down and get married or stay single and stay free?" I'm not sure if I'd ever admit it, but I've totally felt these lyrics before. Marriage = social death. No more friends, no more staying up late. Buying houses, having to spend like $200 on things like blinds and shower curtains. Dinner parties. Pot luck. Shopping. Talking about my day. Was it a good day today or a bad day today? Well what kind of day was it?

Staying single = freedom. Doing what I want. Spending money on me. Eating foods I like, never devoting more than 11 minutes to preparing a meal. Coming home and watching four straight episodes of Prison Break not because I think it's a great show, but just because I can. Emailing for hours. Reading blogs. Occasional loneliness but it's certainly offset by the freedom.

Um...what has become very obvious to me (and which is even more obvious on e-paper) is that "freedom" isn't so much being free as it is being self-centered. Me me me. I can't get outside of myself. Yikes.

This is not to say that marriage is the answer to avoiding self-centeredness. As I learned (or at least heard a sermon about) long ago, marriage is not the answer to all of life's ills. Instead, I need to focus on drawing closer to God. True freedom lies in giving my life to Him, not in being able to play video games whenever I want. What I'm doing is not good enough.


J. Carlson said...

Dang. Um, hi. I think you somehow broke into what I thought was my tightly-locked brain. My sentiments on the whole thing exactly.

This has been my thinking in the past year: If it were up to me, I'd stay single (for the "freedom" you describe), but I have a feeling God would rather get me married order that I might learn how to live in such a way where it's actually NOT all about me.

Thanks for the reminder that I don't have to get married in order to start living unselfishly. (Dangit.)

thatoneguy said...

Interesting. On the other hand, from reading the Apostle Paul I kind of get the impression that, in a sense, single Christians have a higher standard to live up to than married ones, since the former can devote less of their time to family and more to serving God. I don't think that idea is very popular in this part of the world, though. Seriously, who says, "As long as I'm not married, I can devote more of my time and energy to serving the Lord"? But perhaps we should. Somehow Christian freedom and "American" freedom don't seem to match up very well.

Giancarlo said...

Agreed -- the American and Christian versions of "freedom" do not match up well at all. I know I'm not exactly twiddling my thumbs during free time, wondering how I can better serve the Lord. Though, as you said, maybe I should.

Interesting thing: someone recently told me about how Paul's comments regarding singleness were from the standpoint of a world where Jesus was expected to come back at any moment (as opposed to now, where no one really thinks about that). From that vantage, dating was a waste of time because you might have like two days left in the world.

Seems kind of like a cop out to me just so people can feel okay about getting married. But hey, whatever works for you.