When Tyson and I were growing up, everything was a competition. Everything. Among the things we “competed” or fought over were super important things like, who could have the most posters covering the walls of our room, who had the best haircut (mullet vs rat-tail, side-spike vs steps), who would win in 21 tip in, who could eat faster (this was really for 2nd place as Casey was the clear champion here), Ryne Sandberg vs Andre Dawson, and on and on and on. All of this was also compounded by the fact that we shared a room.
Looking back its pretty funny, but one of the more ridiculous things we fought over was our Dad’s old maroon boombox. At that time, it was state of the art. It had dual cassette decks, stereo surround, and a bunch of equalizer buttons. We basically just confiscated it, and hoarded it away in our room to listen to our favorite music.
The daily fight and struggle was over who had the right to listen to who’s music at night as we were falling asleep. This is a sibling battle that may be foreign to all those who never shared a room growing up. But for us, we had to survive those nights when our musical choice had to be put on hold, while we suffered the torture of the other’s music until we fell asleep.
The thing that makes this hilarious is the music we chose. Back in the late 80’s, and early 90’s music was a lot different. Stuff that was cool then, isn’t exactly cool now. Stuff that was perfectly normal listening material to us then, just cracks us up now. To this day, we make fun of each other’s previous childhood musical choices. The beauty of this memory from that particular competition, is that we were both losers.
My personal choice of music varied nightly, but one song, on one tape, has become fodder for Tyson razzing me. It’s a song called “Gonna Love Ya (till the cows come home)” by Reba Macintyre. I know, I know, don’t say anything. I’ve heard it for like 25 years straight now. Trust me. I know. But, just in case you were wondering about that song, here it is…
Tyson, on the other hand, was a bit more eclectic in his choices. He was also a bit more current, and sappy than me. He was also maybe even a little bit “chic flicky”. So, his choice that earned his 25 years of my counter-razzing was, “Lost in Your Eyes” by Debbie Gibson. If you still have room in your doggy bag, here it is…
Now you can clearly understand why we both lost the competition. It was really more like choosing between a colonoscopy and a root canal.
The funniest thing about all this is that we were both supposedly big tough macho guys, and every night, we would argue and fight, nearly coming to blows, over listening to Debbie Gibson or Reba Macyntire! If we had a time machine, we’d probably have to both go back and slap ourselves. But it is hilarious now.
Isn’t it interesting how time changes everything? What is “cool” and “popular” changes. Shows like MacGuyver, and Knight Rider, the best things ever in their time, are now filed away in the “Man, I can’t believe I watched that, this is so lame” category right next to the files for pegged pants, L.A. Gear shoes, and big hair bands. But, such is the way of popular culture. It is always moving on, moving constantly to the next big thing, the next fad, style, sound, or whatever, but the only thing that remains constant is that nothing lasts.
These popular fads don’t ever last because their content isn’t lasting. It’s not even meant to be. People get tired of them because they don’t satisfy the demands of real happiness. Fads have a shelf life of mere moments. Look what happened to the Titanic song by Celine Dion. In its day, it was played on the radio every 3 minutes all over the world and people still couldn’t hear it enough. But now, Its probably on the top 5 list of reasons why people want to pluck their eyes out.
If we look only to things like Debbie Gibson, or songs about cows to make us happy forever, we will only be disappointed (other than maybe laughing at ourselves 25 years later). Real, true happiness that lasts through changing societies, peoples, cultures, and traditions only comes through obedience to God’s laws. And these fortunately don’t change.
“For do we not read that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and in him there is no variableness neither shadow of changing?”
“…I give unto you directions how you may act before me, that it may turn to you for your salvation. I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise.
-Doctrine and Covenants 82:9,10
God will not change. His laws will not change. The blessings he pours upon us when we follow his commandments also will not change. They last forever. It is reliable, dependable, lasting and true. We can count on it 100%. Its like a #1 hit song that stays #1 forever.
Its so much easier to play the game, when the out of bounds lines aren’t constantly shifting and changing. When the laws or rules that bring us happiness are constant, dependable, and solid, we know exactly where to look to find and achieve real lasting happiness. Contrast this with following popular culture and its ever shifting views, beliefs, and so-called values. When we follow what is popular, we soon feel like we have one foot on a hover board, and the other on a banana peel.
This ever changing popular culture will try to lure us into the “better ideas” of what will make us happy. We may think, “that particular commandment is outdated, and doesn’t really apply today because…”, or, “I’m good with all of the commandments, except the one that…”, or, “The church needs to…” Remember, when we think that we have a better idea than God, there is a good chance (like 100%) we are wrong.
Many, many people, have thought their ideas were better. Namely, Pharoah when he butted heads with Moses, Goliath and the Philistines, the false priests of Baal, Laman, Lemuel, Laban, and basically the whole world not in Noah’s family boat. Im not sure if anyone is actually keeping score, but God is undefeated. It may be a good idea to be on his team. We aren’t always as smart as we think we are.
The Lord specifically warned us about ourselves and this manner of thinking in the Book of Mormon…
“O that cunning plan of the evil one! O the vainness, and the frailties, and the foolishness of men! When they are learned they think they are wise, and they hearken not unto the counsel of God, for they set it aside, supposing they know of themselves, wherefore, their wisdom is foolishness and it profiteth them not. And they shall perish. But to be learned is good if they hearken unto the counsels of God.”
-2 Nephi 9:28,29
It may seem complicated to navigate through our everyday lives and deal with all the changing standards that the world seems to hold us to. What words we can use, what is offensive, what isn’t, what is normal, what isn’t, and so on. And, if we try and figure out the world’s standards, we will be confused, because they change almost as quickly as they are established. But, if we just hold ourselves up against God’s standard, it becomes super simple. After all, we are all participating in his plan, not ours. He even left us specific instructions that even a 3 year old can understand.
In fact, if we think about it, the mind-bending big questions that world famous philosophers from the beginning of time have contemplated over, argued about, and postulated opinions on, come down to…
Who are we?
Why are we here?
Where did we come from?
Where do we go when we die?
God made his plan so simple, that the smallest primary children can answer these age old questions as soon as they can talk, or sing….
I am a child of God,
And He has sent me here,
Has given me an earthly home
With Parents kind and dear.
Lead me, guide me, walk beside me
Help me find the way,
Teach me all that I must do
To live with him someday.
I am a child of God,
Rich blessings are in store;
If I but learn to do his will,
I’ll live with him once more
I am a child of God
His promises are sure;
Celestial glory shall be mine
If I can but endure
If we follow the instructions that our loving Heavenly Father left us in the words of this simple song, we will find real, lasting happiness not only in our lives here on this earth, but also in our future lives yet to come. When we look at the reasons why we are here on this earth from the proper perspective, isn’t this the #1 hit song that should be #1 forever?