She was sitting at the kitchen table coloring and eating breakfast – she’s a multi-tasker; got that from her mother – when we heard her juice cup spill and then the word, “Dammit.” Now, we don’t watch cable TV, not because we’re super spiritual, but because we’re super not interested. So she didn’t here it there. And while her mother does get a little ticked off at the way Tennesseans drive (there’s no concept of turn signals or fast lanes in this state) my wife’s not a big cusser. At most she’ll declare someone a jerk under her breath. And I, being a Christian rock star much closer to perfection than the ordinary depraved shmoes I’m forced to live among, certainly have not uttered such profanity around her tiny ears. So who taught it to her?
There’s a little girl in our neighborhood who’s 8. She’s a bouncy bubbly seemingly sweet girl who apparently says “dammit” – and apparently says it often. Gabriella went over to Cursing Girl’s yard one day last week to swing. She was only there an hour. Seemed innocent enough. No gunpowder residue on my little girl’s hands when she returned. No smell of adult beverages on the breath. No stolen goods strapped to her tricycle. No hickeys or other evidence of foul play.
I just thought it was interesting because I’ve been talking and writing a lot lately about the idea of depravity – the belief that all of us are born evil, bent away from God and not towards Him. I say often that this world around us doesn’t make us wicked but only reveals the wickedness already in us – only feeds it. TV, music, cussing girls, bars, bad parenting, low rise jeans, political discussions – these things are miracle grow on the sinful seeds planted in our heart at birth. And I thought about this today when at my kitchen table, in MY house, vulgarity bloomed for the first time.
I’ve tried hard to preserve her innocence, and sure she’s pushed her little brother a few hundred times before and whines frequently when she doesn’t get her way, but this morning felt different. She had selfishness and whininess fertilized just being with me. But “dammit” came from someone outside and there are a lot more someone’s out there able to feed her depravity to full bloom. Kind of makes me want to lock her away from everything and everyone else. But I realize, and it makes me extremely sad, that this perfect little girl has a damned heart. Take away Cursing Girl and Bothersome Brother and Selfish Whining Dad and it may take a little longer but her heart will still one day push something wicked through her unblemished surface. Something bent and broken and despicable will spill out of her soul and up through her hands or mind or mouth eventually. No matter what.
Yep, today I’m mourning because depravity is no longer a theory in a book. It’s real and it’s wriggling in my perfect little girl. Makes me wanna cry…or cuss.
Got thoughts? Discuss this SHLOG on my message-board