Monday, November 9, 2009
The Duggars we're not ...
I'll read anything. O.k., just about anything. Really, there are frightfully few books that I won't take a stab at. I love reading, I read quickly, and I am interested in oh, just about everything.
Case in point: two years ago I went on a huge polio kick. You know--polio? Disease that crippled and killed millions of children in the 50s? Yeah--that polio! Anyhow, I suddenly became outrageously (and annoyingly) interested in the socio-political aspects of the polio epidemic. How did it impact people's daily interaction with one another? What was it like growing up in a climate of fear as a child? How did mothers cope with the threat? What did local authorities do to keep potential hysteria in check? What went on behind the scenes on the nation's political stage? Who were the movers and the shakers?
This is the crazy stuff that I think about, people. And then, after I think about it, I hit my library, and I come home with loads and loads of reading material. I read and I digest. When I finally feel like I've gotten a handle on it, I can set the topic aside and move on.
It's kind of boring being me, as you can tell. :-)
This is the kind of random rabbit trail thought process that brought the Duggars book, "20 and Counting" to my bedside table. I was at my grandparent's house recently, where I had unfettered access to television for the first time in eons. One of the programs that my grandmother likes to watch is the TLC program on the Duggar family. Why?
"They talk about the Lord like it's o.k. to mention Him on t.v., and I like that."
There 'ya go.
So anyhow, I watched a couple of episodes of the Duggar show. Obviously I had heard of them before. I am a homeschooler. I have a couple of kids. Well, that and I don't live under a rock. The Duggars are their own little phenomena, aren't they? If you homeschool they've popped up in conversation--simply because the Duggars do it, and they're on t.v. And if you've got more than say, four kids, the Duggars are going to be thrown out there. "What, are you guys going to be like the Duggars?" And if your brand of Christianity leads you to wear dresses or something else visible, you may just hear Duggar references as you go about your life, too. They're everywhere, those Duggars.
These realizations touched off one of those polio-like wonderings in my mind, so when I returned home, I started my normal reading routine. I found websites, read articles, looked for books. And you know what I found? I think I actually like the Duggars.
Obviously, I don't personally know this family. And I'm still highly suspicious of anyone, Christian or not, who does the whole "come on in and film our lives!" thing. You want to be an actor? Wonderful! Go for it. But having someone come in and film your kids eating breakfast? Can we all just take a step back and admit that this is a weird, warping little intrusion into the life of a family? Anyhow, I digress ...
I think the Duggars are likable. That doesn't mean that I agree with every word that comes from their lips, and that doesn't mean that I'm going to strive to emulate them. But I see very little in the way of condescension towards others in the way that they live their lives. I see a whole lot of work ethic. And I see an amazing amount of love--the kind of love that absolutely embodies the JOY principle of Jesus, Others, Self.
It's refreshing, honestly.
And convicting. Last night, as I was reading a section of "20 and Counting," I found a passage relating the story of how the Duggars had come to have a vehicle large enough to transport their entire family. I'll be honest and admit that my assumption involved the kind folks at TLC financing something for them. According to the book, however, they bought a wrecked bus for under $3,000. Then, they bought another, even more demolished bus for far less. And, as a family, they pieced them together. In the end, they have a large, serviceable vehicle that meets their needs ... for under $3,500. Which they say they paid in cash, by the way.
I'll be real and admit that I could not do that. First and foremost, neither Mr. Blandings nor myself has the kinds of skill that a project of that magnitude requires. But beyond that ... I'm just not that patient. I know I wouldn't wait for the right price at the right time if I was having to dole my family into two or three different vehicles just to get everyone to church on Sunday morning. Nope. I'd be the woman asking myself why on earth Jesus would mind if we just took out one, itty-bitty car loan, just this once? I'd be the one looking for loopholes in my previous conviction. I'd be the one whining my way through the wait.
But I'd rather be the "be content with what you have, for the Lord has said, never will I leave you nor forsake you" kind of gal. I'd rather be patient. I'd rather be ...
Well, like a Duggar, I guess.
So if nothing else, this is what I've learned from my phase of putting the Duggars under my curious microscope: Examples of faith come in the most unlikely of places. Maybe even on reality t.v. shows.