My heart smiles whenever I see one of the quaint little well decorations you can get for your lawn. Growing up there was an older couple down the street that had one in their yard. I used to play outside of their house for hours by myself, imagining that I was a princess stuck in the bottom of the well and my prince charming would come and save me. I’d sit behind the well so that no one could see me from the dirt road when I was pretending to be in the well and then I would move to the other side after being rescued by my imaginary prince. I attempted to get into this well more than once but could never figure out how to do it without toppling over the flowers that were hanging precariously low from the inside. Mrs. Wheeler would play along with the game if she was outside tending her roses and if he was out, Mr. Wheeler would take me around his back yard after my surprise rescue, and we’d pick grapes or other berries.
I had many sets of “grandparents” when I was young. Two sets were my neighborhood grandparents, Mr. & Mrs. Wheeler and Mr. & Mrs. Burt, who both lived a hop, skip and a jump down the dirt road from my house. These adults helped keep an eye on all the children of the neighborhood. We knew that we were never far from the caring eye of a “grandparent” that had our best interests in mind and were not afraid to speak to our parents about our comings and goings. It was a close-knit rural community.
One of my grandparents always cautioned me about the books I picked to read, the movies I chose to watch or the music I played on my Walkman. “By beholding we are changed,” she would say. She would click her tongue and shake her head if there was something said somewhere that went over her conservative boundaries. I took to making book covers for some of the books that I would read because I knew the cover made them look too provocative. And with each click of her tongue or shake of her head, I would become more determined to place granny where should would not be bothered by such, or at risk of embarrassing me.
It was several small moments, frivolous choices made impulsively. Granny was long since in the grave and I woke up one morning to her voice in my head. I had let myself get caught up with life and hadn’t paid attention. It wasn’t anything earth shattering that I had done but I came to the realization that some things that had once shaken me to the core were, well, nothing…. but everything all at the same time. The Christian musical group Casting Crowns wrote a jarring song about this matter called “Slow Fade”. If you have never heard it, I encourage you to pull it up and have the lyrics handy. It speaks a volume of truth and is a beacon of warning. Proverbs 4:26 shares this wisdom, “Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways.”
There is one thing that I disagree with in this song, though, it is no longer a slow fade. This process is speeding up as increasingly negative and horrid things are being posted on the Internet and social media. A sense of social responsibility has been tossed out the window in the name of freedom of speech. To quote Jeff Goldblum’s character in Jurassic Park, “Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should.” And it makes me wonder if that is where our society has arrived. Are we so enamored with if we could, that we don’t think about the consequences of if we should? There are scarier results to be had then being chased by a dinosaur. Steven Furtick once said, “You can’t poison the well and then complain about the water.” This reality cannot be overstated.