dimanche, août 07, 2011

Acts of love, profane and sacred

"Mr. C" is off for another week of camp, so I wanted some 'hang-out' time with him.

A walk around the track near the house. Some pizza at Carmine's. A little ice cream.

And a few moments with Ray William Johnson.

Perhaps you don't know who he is. All I knew was that my kids were often viewing his videos and then quoting them. A quick search online told me that Johnson, who had studied at Columbia to be a lawyer, (no dummy he), had the most popular channel on YouTube, and that the videos he reviews often have a surge in popularity.

Frankly, that's all I cared to know -- until last night. Wrapped up in my sober perusal of articles about Standard & Poor's, I had little interest in a comedian my teens found funny.

As little interest as they have in Jon Stewart.

But my son kept asking me to check him out, and so I watched one of his videos.

Because my laptop doesn't have a lot of power, the I could only see about 30 seconds before it went into the buffer zone. In a critique freely laced with frequent f-bombs and what may or may not be stream of consciousness Johnson reviews other people's viral videos, managing to insult them and get off a few quips at the same time. He's also got a "common question of the day."

If you are extremely lucky, you can be among those chosen to answer that "common question " in his next video, my son told me -- and you get your five seconds of fame by having your name featured!

The humor is...well, kind of juvie.

But this morning I realized something -- that my son, who will be fourteen in less than two weeks, was letting me into his life. I'd be very stupid not to take the chance to learn a little more about what grabs his attention.

This morning, we went to church, which was crowded as usual -- fitting, because we were late, as usual. It was the first time that his father had been to church in a few months -- the chemotherapy has been really tough. Within moments my son had vanished from the area where I was sitting in the back. It wasn't until I stood up that I saw him on the other side of the sanctuary.

He'd found his dad, and slipped into the pew with him.

Youth group and church -- that's a part of his life, also. When we took our walk yesterday, he told me how excited he was about going to the Christian camp -- four years, and he's got friends, and traditions, and a genuine love for that place.

As the years go by, he's going to have to find his own balance -- the sacred and the secular, material matters and places in the heart.

Waiting on line to register at the camp this afternoon, he teased me mercilessly about not being like other people's "hipster" parents. Nothing I can do about that, or about being an older parent, or about all the other challenges that face him as a teen who wants to be cool.

But I can be part of his life, where and when he invite me in. More than that -- I'm still going to be "uncool" whenever and whenever I feel the call.

Sensitive to the potential embarrassment of goodbyes in front of pals, I whisked him away from the entrance to the tent.

Then I threw my arms around him. You never know, in the week ahead, when he'll need that hug.

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