What’s Wrong with the World

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To face unafraid the plans that we made

I'm sure all of you are already sick of "Winter Wonderland."

Oddly, I'm not. At least not if I can listen to Bing Crosby sing it instead of somebody less talented. I notice this year, as every year now, one particular line of that song: "Later on we'll conspire, as we dream by the fire, to face unafraid the plans that we made walkin' in a winter wonderland."

Isn't that at least a little bit striking? Why do those plans require "facing unafraid"? Well, they're going to get married. (That's the bit about the snowman and Parson Brown.)

I once tried rather awkwardly, and probably not very convincingly, to explain to an unmarried friend that getting married and, especially, having children, are part of growing up. He was rather offended. He took me to be implying that single people cannot be grown up, which wasn't what I meant.

But getting married and having children are the usual and, relatively speaking, easy ways in which God stretches us. Having a family is leaving oneself open to all manner of pain, grief, and fear, most of which I have thus far been spared, having been given an embarrassingly easy road to tread. But if singleness and loneliness have their own griefs and fears--as they most certainly do--so do marriage and children. In particular, there are the fears for others, the involvement with others, and the sense of responsibility and sometimes of helplessness. Suffering oneself is one thing. Watching one's children or one's beloved spouse suffer or even die must be something else again, and in some ways far worse.

How many young men and nowadays even some young women would rather not even start talking about Parson Brown, much less face that particular plan unafraid? As for children...there's a reason why having children is sometimes called "giving hostages to fortune." As a risk-averse person myself, I'm not just exactly over-fond of being at the mercy of fortune for myself and my loved ones.

So don't knock "Winter Wonderland." Try instead to imagine somebody nowadays writing a song that light, fun, and singable with a zinger line like that right smack in the middle of it.

Oh, and while I'm writing about the Christmas season (yes, I know, it's really Advent), here's a fun video, link courtesy of our own Bill Luse.

Comments (3)

Very nice post! I, too, must admit to being a risk-averse person who, thus far, has had an embarrassingly blessed life in terms of fears-made-manisfest. I am now on brink of yet another yawning void--one that I always scoffed at when I heard it mentioned: the empty nest syndrome.
Not until one's children have finally been nurtured and prepared to confront the world independently (and elsewhere) does one realize fully that for two decades, at least, one has had a built-in raison d'etre. Life has been easy. There has never been any question of why one found the strength to get up and face the day. I'm beginning now to understand why some middle-aged men succumb to the temptation of making fools of themselves by buying red sports cars and wearing silly hats.

That *was* a pretty good link, wasn't it?

Here's an even better one. Make sure the sound's turned up a bit, and that you follow the directions on the screen.

"Isn't that at least a little bit striking? Why do those plans require 'facing unafraid'?"

I appreciate your insight. Just moments before, in my private notes, I had written of the same seeming anomaly! How ironic! The song begins as a simple walk-in-the-snow enjoyment song, but then, unexpectedly, turns intense, in contemplation of all the difficulties of living in this materialistic and ego-led world! Even true love requires courage to make its way during our temporary time here, in hell. Best to you, W.

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