Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Bad boys--Whatcha gonna do?

What is it about bad boys that attracts me? I find myself time and time again draw to the quintessential bad boy-brooding artist, ne'er do well; you name it, I love it. When I see Lucius Malfoy, the dark foil to Harry Potter's shining gem, do I deplore his treatment of Dobby the house elf? No, I wonder what it would feel like to run my fingers through that long blond hair. Mmm. Luscious. I mean Lucius. And don't get me started on the Italian bad boys. Sonny Corleone makes my heart pound, to say nothing of Tony Soprano. Flawed, evil, and utterly attractive. I don't think I'm alone, though. How many people watch every episode of The Sopranos or own every Godfather DVD? It's like a cult following. Why is it that I find myself attracted to this type of person? When the boy next door is the obvious choice, why would I pick the boy from the wrong side of the tracks? Is it feeling included in that secret club of angst and alienation that leaves out the rest of the world? Being part of a club feels great, even if it's the wrong club. Leaving others out is what makes it attractive. I belong and you don't. I'm in and you're out. I've got shorts on and you don't. I'm a wannabe, a bad boy groupie. The passion I feel being around dangerous people and dangerous ideas is like a drug. Safe is dull. I'm a lifetime student in the school of hard knocks, and here I learn that I might be part of the 'in crowd' today, but there are no guarantees for tomorrow. By their very definition bad boys are just that, bad. Their loyalty may last for ten minutes or ten months or even ten years, but then they are compelled to find a new crowd of adoring fans. My worship is stale, unbelievable, undesired. Lucius and Tony and Sonny move on to fresh meat. Here I sit, alone, on the outside. A friend asked me recently if I had to do it over again, would I choose differently? I had to admit I wouldn't. I'll always be attracted to a certain type of person--the one who is walking the tightrope quickly without a net. As a wannabe I can only watch. I'm not the tightrope walker Nietsche heralds as the hero. Here on the ground, alone at the edge of the crowd, I ponder my choices. I know in my head that God calls me to be a part of his in crowd. It's a place where I'll always be accepted, never ostracized or rejected. Why do I find it so hard to believe that his fellowship is more desirable than the bad boys I've chased all these years? I read C. S. Lewis's words that we choose the things that are less passionate than God's love and call them wondrous. What fools we are. What a fool I am. Yet I can't seem to get beyond my attraction for the less wild loves, the pale imitations of true love and life. I can't seem to live with my heart in the truest sense of the word--trusting the one who made me and gave his life for me. I choose instead the counterfeit--my bad boys--because in some way it seems safer. As Aslan is not a tame lion, God is not a tame god. I can't put him on a pedestal as I do with my bad boys. He keeps getting off and shaking me up. The bad boys stay put. They may disappoint and hurt, but they stay put. That's the way it is with idols. They won't do you any good in the long term, but they stay put. I'm settling for that even when I know there's something better. When God tells me that he'll be even better than the bad boys, I hear him, and maybe I even believe him, but can I do anything about it? I wonder, and I ask myself, "Whatcha gonna do?"

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