Skip to main content

Me and Holden Caulfield

From DeviantArt by Mecrcurio 2539
You remember reading "Catcher in the Rye," don't you? Most of us did in high school. I don't remember if it was required reading or not, but I read it and re-read it. The angst of Holden Caulfield, the book's narrator, is one that resonates with most teens I think. He finds the adults in his life both annoying and baffling, he's bullied by his school mates, and adores his little sister. He's trying to figure out a world that makes no sense, and he finds refuge in both bitterness and innocence, despite clear signs to the reader that his view of the world is tinted by mental illness.

Anyway, I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all. Thousands of little kids, and nobody's around - nobody big, I mean - except me. And I'm standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff - I mean if they're running and they don't look where they're going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That's all I do all day. I'd just be the catcher in the rye and all. I know it's crazy, but that's the only thing I'd really like to be.

I'm with Holden right now, watching my child run towards a cliff. Holden, in his embittered yet virtuous nature, sees himself saving these kids - he has to: no one else is there! He'll be that guy that saves those kids...maybe because no one is there to save him.

Oh, Holden, I wish it were that easy. I wish I could just grab my son and haul him away from a cliff he seems bound and determined to leap over. I'm standing there, in the rye, waving my arms frantically and calling out, "Over here! Stop! Come this way!" as I watch my son look at me, and determinedly run away.

I have to keep consciously telling myself: This is not my fault. This is his choice. He knows the difference between right and wrong. He is making these choices, and they are not a reflection of me.

But it still hurts. I'm not sure Holden understood that part: that some of those kids don't want to be caught. They see you on the edge of that crazy cliff, they know the cliff is there, and yet....

Of course, the irony for Holden is that he himself is running over the cliff. He's made a huge mess of his life (some of it his fault, some not) and he's over the cliff.

Either way, we cannot save those who do not wish to be saved. I can be the catcher in the rye, but the only way I can be of help is to pray.

And so I do.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Trying to "end run" God

If you're a football fan, you know what an end run is. From Merriam-Webster:
a football play in which the ballcarrier attempts to run wide around the end of the line We try to "end run" God a lot. I do. I figure I know better. I've got this - no need to worry the Big Guy about such a trivial thing.

Of course, it never works.

Like the puppy above, when we try and evade the tough obstacle (even though we KNOW we will eventually have to do it), we end up - well, off in the bushes.

But oh! How I wished my way worked. I'd love to take a flying leap and land smoothly and gracefully. People would be in awe, as if watching Simone Biles nail a balance beam routine that no one else would even attempt. I would shyly look down and blush - just lightly - and acknowledge (But humbly! Oh so humbly!) my achievement.

But no: I am the one pulling myself out of the bushes, scratches all over my legs and twigs in my hair. I'd hear that gentle but loving voice of God saying, &quo…

Secret Santa!!

Too old for Santa? I think not.

Yes, there are discussions as to whether we should "lie" to kids and tell them that Santa brings them gifts vs. We can't lie to the kids; it's wrong.

There is also the "Christmas is about Jesus" vs. "But Santa is magical!"

You know, we have so few magical and joyful moments, and less and less as we get older. Santa is fun. And the kids usually figure it out, and no one I know was ever scarred for life for believing that Santa brought them and every child everywhere a toy for Christmas.

It's the magic of looking up at the sky on a clear December night, thinking "I'll wait up to see Santa" and later, as you fell asleep at the window, being in your daddy's arms as he carries you to bed.

It's the magic of putting out cookies and milk (or beer, because Santa does like beer) and maybe some carrots for the reindeer, and then checking in the morning to make sure the food was all consumed.

It's…

Advent Brokenness

It was a lovely May evening, the kind we in Michigan savor like honey. After the brutal cold of winter, flowers blossomed, grass greened, mosquitoes flocked. School was almost done for the year - just the formalities of 8th grade graduation were ahead.

Why not saddle up the horse and go for a ride? Why not, indeed. So my sister and I did. I took Prince out across the road from our house, to romp through the weeds on a path my father mowed for us. The view from horseback on a spring night - well, nearly Heaven.

Until Prince bolted. He spooked. I fell. And my arm broke. Compound fracture.

My dog, a collie, had followed us out. He was not particularly trusting of Prince, as Prince would never allow himself to be herded, and this vexed my collie. My dog, channeling his inner Lassie, ran home without me.

My sister had been in the yard with her boyfriend at the time, Gary, waiting for me to come back. Instead, it was just the dog loping across the road. That didn't seem right, so my si…