Children have a strange effect on their parents. Mine do. I thought I’d discuss one of the most unique ways my children have impacted my life.
Most Christians were taught to not take the Lord’s name in vain. After all, it is one of the commandments, you know. We normally assume this means not saying the phrase, “Oh my God” or something similar. Of course if you believe taking the Lord’s name in vain has something to do with stringing a particular set of words together, you may be missing the point of that commandment. It might have something more to do with actions than words alone (just a thought). But in the deep South, we have acceptable forms of “taking the Lord’s name in vain” that don’t apply everywhere else in the world. We have phrases like “Lordy, Lordy!” or my personal favorite: “Oh, good Lord!”
I say, “Oh, good Lord” all the time. My children elicit this colorful, yet worshipful response from me, particularly when attempting to get them dressed, to clean up their room, and most often at bedtime (specifically after the third call after I have told them to go to sleep). But I’ve noticed something. My traditional phrase has slowly developed a life its own with extra words being added depending upon the severity of the infraction being described. First came, “Oh, good Lord in heaven above!” Then came, “Oh, good Lord of heaven above and creator of all we survey!” No joke; I’ve actually said that.
However, last week, I hit the pinnacle of Southern “name-in-vain” taking. In a moment of abysmal desperation (caused by Annagale, no doubt) I said the following words: “OH, GOOD LORD IN HEAVEN AND CREATOR OF ALL WE SURVEY WHO HAS WROUGHT WITHIN OUR SINFUL HEARTS THAT BLESSED EVENT AFFECTIONATELY REFERRED TO BY MANY AS SALVATION!!” Or something like that.
That moment in time was a personal best for me. “Ninja skills” in taking the Lord’s name in vain, if you will. I believe Napoleon Dynamite would be proud of my newly acquired skills. The girls certainly were. The above phrase is at least the Southern equivalent of that time-honored Catholic phrase: “Jesus, Mary, Joseph and all the saints!” It also may replace my previous personal best: “Son of a motherless goat!” which sounds much worse than it actually is.
Just another example of how my children push me to new heights of greatness. It is in these moments that I am most thankful for my children.