Tuneful Tuesday: Frail

Apparently, “snafu” is a curse word.

snafuWell, it’s not a curse word in itself, but it is an acronym which contains a curse word. I’m not going to spell it out here; a simple Google search will tell you what the individual letters stand for. I was not so lucky as to discover the meaning of each letter through an internet search, however. No, I learned their meaning after I uttered the word on live Christian radio today.

I have been using that word for years and had absolutely no clue it was an acronym. Of course, now that I know, I definitely won’t use it on the radio anymore. What’s interesting to me as I sit here and reflect on my gaffe is that something which meant one thing to me when the day started now means something else as it is ending. The word didn’t change, though; my perception of it did.

Sometimes songs are like that. You go for years thinking a song means one thing, then one day you realize you had one of the words wrong and suddenly it takes on a completely different meaning. Ironically, on the same day I learned what “snafu” really meant, one of these song occurrences happened to me.

I’ve written about Jars of Clay here before, so I’m not going to rehash all that. The group’s second album, Much Afraid, was a bit of a dud for me. It was almost as if after the enormous success of their debut album they were given free rein on their sophomore project, which unfortunately resulted in some over-elaborate production that nearly drowned many of the songs. There are some interesting arrangements on the album, though, including a nearly seven-minute song titled “Frail.”

For years, I believed this song was about someone lamenting their inability to be a good friend. I thought this mainly because I believed the last word of the song was “friend.” Well, it’s actually “frail,” which sort of debunks my theory. I’m stubborn, though, so I’ll probably stick with my version at least a little while longer. Besides, it fits better with how I’m feeling today anyway.

“If I was not so weak/If I was not so cold/If I was not so scared of being broken/Growing old…” It’s a spiritual metaphor in the song, representing why someone can’t submit to God, but aren’t these all attitudes that keep us from being good friends? They’re also attitudes that are incredibly difficult to face in ourselves. Finally, they’re attitudes that require a lot of patience from our friends to put up with.

It’s all about the perceptions. Sometimes we’re right, sometimes we’re wrong. Sometimes we’re not exactly either one, but the hopeful side of me likes to believe things will become clearer over time. That makes the snafus … er, mistakes easier to deal with along the way.

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Ten Years

I have many friends who love to eat. Not only do they love to eat, they love to take pictures of what they eat and post them on social media wolfgang-puckwebsites. I can’t say I’m a particularly big fan of this practice. I mean, if you’re out at a restaurant or it’s some special occasion, sure, go ahead and snap a picture of your plate. If it’s the Tuesday night meal at home, it’s slightly less interesting to me. Personal preference, though; you post what you want, Wolfgang.

Because I can be something of a smart aleck when I’m protected by the security of a keyboard, I decided one day to post pictures on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Google+ (Yes, I actually use that one, too.) of everything I ate. It was all really mundane stuff – a banana, a peanut butter sandwich, a bag of Lay’s potato chips. I don’t know if anyone else found it funny, but I at least amused myself that day. The exercise also taught me something else, however: I don’t eat very much over the course of a day. I didn’t realize it until I saw everything laid out in pictures.

Sometimes we can’t see things clearly until they’re placed very obviously in front of us. I was challenged by someone recently to come up with a 10-year life plan for myself. I knew when they asked me to do this that it would be difficult, but what I didn’t know was that the process of trying to write it down would trigger so many feelings. Optimism, anger, frustration, depression, hopefulness, despair… Mostly, though, I couldn’t stop thinking about how the concept of seeing ten more years pass was very difficult for me to grasp. Most days, I’m doing good to make it through the next ten minutes.

That’s when it hit me: I expend a remarkable amount of mental energy just getting through one day. Addicts mention the term “one day at a time” a lot, and sometimes that’s how I feel like I’m dealing with life. If I can just get through this one day, then maybe I can face the next one. Author Richard O’Connor once wrote, “People with depression generally are working too hard but not getting anywhere.” I can’t even fathom ten years right now because I’m just trying to make it from Point “A” to Point “B.”

Sitting down and going over this plan with someone else will, hopefully, help me to see things differently. As I told someone recently about my desire to go back to college to pursue a degree in psychology, “I want to get the whole thing finished in about two weeks.” I want immediate results, but in this instance I’m attempting to unravel 40 years of thought processes. It may take some time. Maybe even ten years.