Our anthem yesterday was “Sing to the Lord of Harvest.” This is a traditional Thanksgiving hymn, but I had never sung it before. The reason may be there in the second stanza:
“By Him the clouds drop fatness…”
In our music, someone had crossed out “fatness” and written in “beauty.” Evidently, people don’t care to sing about fatness. The syllable “fat” is on a half note, so it is a long “faaatness.” Rather than just not singing it, the previous director had apparently decided to substitute “beauty.”
We rehearsed it that way, but it bothered me. The rest of the stanza has “goodness,” “fullness,” and “gladness.” “Beauty” doesn’t have the near-rhyme of the other words, and it doesn’t fit, and it is hard to know what it might mean in this context.
I brought this up.
“What did ‘fatness’ mean?” the director scowled.
“Well,” said I, “it went with ‘large increase’ and ‘fullness’ and ‘harvest.’ They liked fatness in those days.”
The clouds dropping fatness presumably had something to do with rain bringing growth and harvest and stuff like that.
I proposed “sweetness.” Not that it is all that much more meaningful than “beauty,” but at least it sounds right. The choir agreed, and the director acquiesced.
But it got me thinking. We are squeamish about music nowadays, of course, and often people won’t sing hymns with words like “blood” or “breast” or “white” or “battle.”
These are in many cases the same people who will listen outside of church to songs with words like “*@#&” and “*&%^$$#.”
Anyway, my Sunday School class began a study on body image yesterday. The topic also arose back when I went to Sunday School with the old ladies. Their body issues were things like not being able to move quickly or having such thin skin that it tore when touched. After someone brings up that kind of stuff, you are not going to complain about figure flaws, are you?
But now I teach the senior high Sunday School class, and for those kids, body image is all about fatness. Our book said that 80% of teen girls are unhappy with the way they look. When I read that out, there was a chorus of agreement.
The guys were not immune — teen boys want to be bigger and more muscular, and some of them also worry about being fat — but for the girls, how they think they look affects, or even determines, how they feel that day. They were talking about “sweat pants days” and worrying about looking fat.
“And other girls can be cruel,” said one, “They’ll come right up to you and say you look like a fat cow.”
One of the boys said, toward the end of our discussion, “I don’t get it. Girls are always talking about how they want to be skinny, and they are so pretty.”
He’s right. Some of the girls in the group are slim and some are plump, but they are all pretty. By the time they grow up and become confident about their looks, they will have wasted years when they could have enjoyed their youth and health and strength. I suggested to them that on Thanksgiving — which one of the girls described as “Another chance to have a negative body image” — they spare a moment to be thankful for their bodies, and for how well they work. There was a rousing silence.
I also finished the fairy Christmas tree ornaments. They still look primitive, but I think they will be pretty on the tree anyway. These are a Christmas present, but I have activated Crazy Aunt Purl’s special Christmas Present Filter, which prevents recipients from seeing their gifts. So, if you can see them, then they are not for you.
I knitted up the fifth skein of gray yarn, in the form of the first sleeve of #2 son’s sweater.
They have the entire week off for Thanksgiving.
They plan to spend the week playing video games. A few gym visits, gymnastics for #2 son, but otherwise they will be playing Final Fantasy and NBA 2007.
Since I am working and they are not, I have plans for them to help out with cooking and cleaning.
They met this idea with a rousing silence.