I was sitting here last night, quietly minding my own business and the business of everyone else sharing on social media. My son, who is a big race fan, came in and asked if I wanted to see the end of the race. I had either forgotten or not even known that there was a race going on but sure.
Technology hates me. My television wasn’t even on, so picking up the remote I managed to get it to come on with the first try. Getting it on the proper channel, not so much. The race was on channel 67. First try got me on channel 6. Second try, channel 7. That went back and forth for several seconds until after probably six or sixteen tries, I got the thing on the right channel to see the last seven or so laps of this race.
While I don’t keep up with schedules or even watch any but the last few laps of a race when my son asks- because it is a sharing moment (insert awwws here) I do have a favorite driver. Chase Elliot. I actually thought he had a chance to win that one last night. It was down to the last lap, he had been passed and was battling to get that lead back. In the process he and the guy in the lead get tangled up, okay, I think good guy Chase kinda more than slightly gave him a not so gentle nudge, but that’s racing right? That nudge though? It gave another driver the opening he needed and he slung by those guys as if he had been shot out of a cannon. Where did he come from?
My son gets some what, slightly, okay annoyed and tired, of me calling him the m&m&m& m guy. But he won. He hung back watching, waiting, anticipating the possibility and when it happened he came out of nowhere to win. That’s racin’.
Now you may be thinking, that’s nice, or not. And you may be wondering where I’m attempting to go with this, especially since I haven’t mentioned today’s word of choice. The word being idolization. Most dictionaries have wanted to change that to idolize, maybe because it is more familiar and used but I finally found this; https://www.thefreedictionary.com/idolization. And it confirmed my thoughts, one definition is “to worship as an idol”.
I don’t know about now, because it has been quite a while since I was a teenager, but I remember covering my bedroom walls with posters and photos torn from magazines of my favorite band of the moment. My parents reaction to that was to ask, “How can you stand having all those eyes watching you?” which I responded with that beloved teen shrug. I used all the money from allowances and birthdays to purchase records, yeah, I’m that old, to the magazines to joining fan clubs. One day in an ‘I’m too grown up for this’ moment, I took everything down and put it away. Eventually tossing most of it out. I think though, it was a bit more than that.
Fast forward quite a few years. I had become a near rabid follower of a country band. What I had learned about them and their beliefs cemented that following. I have in fact met them a few times and found them to be friendly and with a good memory for people. There have been times it had been years since seeing them but they would remember us immediately. Still, one day I walked into this very room and looked at all of the memorabilia that filled almost every available space. In my mind, I wasn’t just following this group, from the looks of this room, I was too close to worshiping -yes- idolizing, them. It all came down and was put away. Not thrown away, but its all in a box in my storage building. Strange how freeing that felt.
Now, my son and the races. Yes, he does know the schedule. Yes, he does watch the races, well the parts he doesn’t sleep through. He even has a few shirts of favorite drivers. But his spaces are not filled with memorabilia. Those shirts are the extent of what he owns.
We can if we aren’t paying attention, allow something to take up too much of our time and attention. We can give the wrong things too much devotion. It doesn’t have to be musical personalities, movie stars, or sports. It can be anything that we allow to distract us to the point that we ignore the important and the worthy.
Many of us when we hear the word idol, our thoughts will almost immediately think of the negative connotations that are attached. We may consider the Biblical mentions of idols in the high places where sacrifices were made. The false gods that cause people to do evil rather than good. To idolize any one or any thing over the one true God, is indeed wrong. It will easily lead one down the wrong paths, drawing them into confusion and darkness, fear and anger.
When I removed the posters from my walls, and put away the memorabilia, it was a freedom moment. It freed me from the secular and opened my eyes and heart to the spiritual. From time to time, I still need those reminders when I begin to allow something else to take too much precedence in my life. And in truth, unlike the winning driver last night, this realization was not something that out of nowhere came.