During high school, my American Lit teacher had us write an essay analyzing the song, “You Can Call Me Al” by Paul Simon. I got the gist of the song, but it probably meant more to the teacher at that point, than it did to a bunch of 15-year-old punks who thought they were immortal. Now as a 33-year-old cog in a bureaucratic machine, the lyrics ring true:
“He says why am I short of attentionGot a short little span of attentionAnd wo my nights are so longWhere's my wife and familyWhat if I die hereWho'll be my role-modelNow that my role-model isGone Gone”
It is easy for me to slip into the trough of missed opportunity and wasted potential. Or even worse to get trapped in the illusory world of unproductive fantasy that keeps me from taking the first step towards fulfilling goals in reality.
There just isn’t enough time now to keep up with the culture, “pop” or otherwise. Not that I hate getting old as much as I hate not being “in on it”. I keep getting invitations to accept “friends” or whatever you call them on Facebook, and I’ve never even been on the site. I can’t keep up with one more thing, and it is only going to get worse. The world is strange and getting stranger. I feel the pressure to simplify, and for me that feels like weakness; like throwing priorities overboard so I can stay afloat.
“It's a street in a strange worldMaybe it's the Third WorldMaybe it's his first time aroundHe doesn't speak the languageHe holds no currencyHe is a foreign man”
But eternity brings me back; my faith in things not seen and evidence of things hoped for. A life built on the truth of God frames a worldview that finds meaning in being a loving husband and a good father. It makes me thankful that I get the opportunity to be productive at work each day, and provide for my family. Building on the Rock makes life’s wanderings a journey; a journey filled with purpose and peace. Maybe I’m being a little liberal with the interpretation, but once again for me it rings true.
“He looks around, aroundHe sees angels in the architectureSpinning in infinityHe says Amen! and Hallelujah!”
Here are the Lyrics in full: