And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love.The way St. Paul puts it there is perfect for us (we Americans, I mean) with our unmatched faith in the institution of marriage and eternal love. Maybe it's why we recite the entire chapter at weddings, as if previous relationships were just about whittling it down, a tournament, a death match that ends in matrimony.
The Bible goes on to declare the winner:
The greatest of these [having won more NCAA titles than the others, presumably] is love.That's how the reading always ends at weddings, with love getting the knockout. But at Faholo, at least nominally, love had no superior footing on the other two. It was depicted in Christian illustrations as just the blondest and hottest of three hot chicks.
Our fathers drove camo vans and had basements stocked full of Campbell's Pork and Beans and survival knives with the hollow hilts packed with matches and fishing hooks like the one Rambo used in First Blood II. We milked goats and lived in houses with wheels on the bottom in "parks."
Our guidance counselors urged us toward the career center's wood shop and cosmetology studies, and behind those huge glasses it was clear that his biggest concern for us was that we didn't murder anyone or attempt suicide, since that would mean a lot of awkward talks and paperwork for him.
One of us wore a beret and enormously baggy weightlifting pants cinched at the ankles, name brand Zubaz. It was part of a whole look he suddenly cultivated that had no real stylistic root; he was pudgy and on the sallow side and had a shitty mustache--the kind that, if you put some milk on it, the cat could lick off, or so the saintly old Brother Nagy said. We called the kid Pierre Von Squa (spelling unknown), a name Mark Dorman had coined and which seemed to us to be appropriately faux and appropriate for a 16-year old portly kid in billowing pants and theoretically (how would we know?) Parisan haberdashery. The name infuriated him, but we still called him it, until it made him fall into a rage and pull a survival knife on Mark Dorman.
A year later Pierre's father was arrested and sent to prison for sexually abusing his daughter repeatedly and in the most terrible ways imaginable. Pierre, it came out, had been abused and was also involved in the abuse of his sister. I'm not sure of all the details, but he was sent to a juvenile center.
I mentioned earlier that Americans are the most optimistic people in the world about faith and the institution of marriage, but there is a contradiction at the heart of our values, one the freshly divorced writer Sandra Loy is keen to point out:
In World Values Surveys taken at the turn of the millennium, fewer Americans agreed with the statement “Marriage is an outdated institution” than citizens of any other Western country surveyed (compare the U.S.’s tiny 10 percent with France’s 36 percent). We are also more religious—more Americans (60 percent) say they attend religious services once a month than do the Vatican-centric Italians (54 percent) or, no surprise, the laissez-faire French (12 percent). At the same time, Americans endure the highest divorce rate in the Western world. In short, although we say we love religion and marriage, Cherlin notes, “religious Americans are more likely to divorce than secular Swedes.”Love may have won it all in Corinthians 13, and in America we surely love to hear this recited, and we believe it to be true, but in practice, we don't abide by it. Faholo is a place to go to weep and put aside the flesh for a moment, nothing more.
Maybe a discussion of faith isn't appropriate here, on this crappy little blog devoted, usually, to cycling. I'd thought of several farcical posts--Rugg Opens a Manscaping / Cycling Salon, Bike Doctor Not Doctor! (Never Finished Thesis!), The Incredible Baxes--A Profile of MABRA's Fastest Father and Son. None of them came off, maybe because I'm thinking about Sandy Hook, or news of yet another divorce, or just the crotchety angstiness of being Uncle Paps.
Racing a bike is no less absurd than being a Jesus freak. We have our services, our devotionals, our evangelists and our camps. We have zeal, and then it wanes, and maybe it returns. We face moments where what we thought was sublime was actually sordid--a horrible lie.
It's worth going to camps and shooting for sublimity. It's also worth thinking about these scams, I guess is what I'm trying to say. It's worth remembering that, even though love triumphs in that verse, there's stuff that remains, and it's far more than a slick abbreviation.