I Am Resolved

My first exposure to the word resolve came via a hymn sung in my father's church:

I am resolved no longer to linger/charmed by the world's delight/things that are higher, things that are nobler/these have allured my sight.

I liked this hymn primarily because of a rollicking bass line in the chorus, where the men who were not tenors would essentially walk down a flight of notes to the words hasten so glad and freeeeeeee. It's probably one of those "notes to self" how the song's emphasis was on things that are higher but it was the things going lower that allured me. In a very real sense, they still do.

So, here on Friday, the second day of 2009, I want to change those lyrics just a bit to suit my resolve: I want to linger/charmed by the world's delight. Please hasten a moment as I try to explain.

There's something knock-the-breath-out-of-you-lovely about the words in my rewritten first line. Just say them out loud, slowly, and let them sit on the air a moment: linger...charmed...delight. Aren't they just beautiful? I believe those three words point to a living that is higher and nobler than what most of us live, something to hope for in days to come. It'd be something if aliens touched down and took a survey of the population and came up with this evaluation: these earthlings are a charming lot.

There is a delight that the Grace that keeps this world is trying to offer us. But the charm only works if we linger.

Just last evening, the first evening of this new year, I sat delighted by my daughters' feet. The two of them had iPods stuck in their ears, dancing around the den wearing t-shirts, blue jeans, and no shoes. I set my Jim Harrison book down a moment, or lingered, and found myself, well, charmed. It wasn't some sugary, chicken-soup delight I was experiencing; it was actually quite bittersweet. I watched their feet move and realized, yet again, I don't have little girls anymore. I saw the feet of girls that will tan in the summer sun and fill flip-flops with painted red toes and turn the eyes of lingering boys. I don't know that I'm necessarily ready for all that, but I wouldn't have it any other way.

And just yesterday afternoon, the first afternoon of this new year, we packed up the truck and went to see The Tale of Despereaux. Before the coming attractions even began, my girlfriend and I got all sideways about something and I honestly wanted to just go sit in the lobby and eat one of those big pickles until the show was over. But I didn't. I lingered. And in the dark of that theater, there came a moment when she slipped her hand in this old fool's and I found myself, well, charmed. We, the two of us, gradually got all un-sideways and found ourselves delighted to sit next to one another while Kate Dicamillo's story unraveled before us; a story that reminded us of the great need for courage and the gentle-man and forgiveness.

And then just late last night, the first late night of this new year, I made my usual final walk through the house and started the dishwasher, turned off the kids' radios and nite-lights, made sure the Beagle was breathing, that kind of stuff. And before turning off that last light, I lingered a moment, as is my resolve, and said thank you for the day's delight; I'm not too charmed about that wart of the bottom of my foot right now because it hurts like hell, and we cooked those potatoes in the stew for hours and they were still crunchy, but it all goes together I guess, so thank you. That was probably not the most higher and nobler prayer voiced by an earthling on New Year's Day, but it's the notes that come from us rollicking bass singers, all allured and such.

I pray you a charming 2009...


  1. happy new year, john.

  2. Oh, geez...I guess I need to delete my post now. :)

    You're so right, so right. I think we can have heaven in our binoculars, but we need to put them down on occasion nad really give thanks for what's right here. The old contentment thing...Absolutely.

  3. I would love a charmed 2009...and I'll pray the same for you!

  4. John, You are an amazingly gifted writer. I am always amazed at what you write and how it captures my attention and draws me in.

    I wrote about living "In the Moments" on my blog...and Gretchen sent me here to read what you had written. I loved it!

    Julie (From Georgia)

  5. Happy New Year! I love reading all of these perspectives on living the new year.

    I have always appreciated your underlying theme of lingering and treasuring the charming moments in life. There is much that deserves lingering... We had a wonderful, extended vacation where I drank in the moments together as a family. Life is much too rushed for most of us.

  6. Pounce4:54 AM

    Your words, "emphasis was on things that are higher but it was the things going lower that allured me" ...

    Mine, "emphasis was on things that are higher but it was the things, which was shorter, that allured me"

    ... I've been thinking much about my Gypsy - lost in Montana, and with a combination of your writing, God, and the ability to time travel (backwards), I have no desire to pluck my Lost Soul out of her Rocky Mountain Wilderness. Thank You!