Rock ‘n’ Roll

Rock ‘n’ Roll

My son Jesse is a rocker. No kidding.

Many years ago, in our basement, he and his high-school buddies started a rock band, and set their sites on the stars. They graduated from high school, and some went to college together. A few combinations of people, and 10 years later, he’s still at it, living in Nashville, recording and performing (his band is called South Jordan, named after a street where they once lived).

He recently wrote a song that moved me, and, Dad that I am, I hope it will touch many others. It’s called “Live, Laugh, Love,” inspired by a sign that we hung over our dining room at home. The song is upbeat, the message is clear from the title, but the context is what caught my attention.

A friend’s cousin had just been tragically killed in a car wreck up east somewhere. This girl had been in drug rehab, and was just getting her life rebuilt when it was taken away.

After listening to his song pairing the pain of life with our call to live, laugh, love, I telephoned him. “Jesse,” I said, “this song is your best. I think you’ve hit on an art—the pairing of the good and the bad, the insistence to go on living the gift that God has given us in spite of the pain.”

Now I need to make a small disclaimer: This is not a pious album. In fact, some of the songs are a bit racy, if you get the double-entendres. “It’s not your culture, Dad,” Jesse had dryly told me. And a fellow parent told me that the songs really were about the inner life. I have my doubts on a few.

I do live in a different culture from this emerging adult. We both live in the same world, made by the same God. But our language is different. I relate to the depth of his songwriting, but sometimes I don’t speak the same language.

Isn’t that true for a lot of us? Whether age or cultural differences, we experience life differently. But we’re all in the same boat. Life is filled with challenges, but each of us are called to live, laugh, love. You can read inspiring articles on that theme every month on this website or in St. Anthony Messenger magazine.

For a nice book on young spirituality, check out Mark Mossa, SJ’s Already There: Letting God Find You.

Image: South Jordan


About the Author

John Feister is editor in chief of St. Anthony Messenger magazine. He has a B.A. in American Studies from University of Dayton, and master's degrees in Humanities and in Theology from Xavier University. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Catholic Press Association of the United States and Canada, and was previously an adviser to the Communications Committee of the U.S. Catholic bishops (2000-2006). His latest book, Thank You, Sisters: Stories of Women Religious and How They Enrich Our Lives is available from the Franciscan Media catalog. He has cauthored four books with Richard Rohr (Franciscan Media), and coauthored, with Charlene Smith, the biography of Thea Bowman (Orbis books).
  • Sanorared

    It was fun reading this one, John!  I may borrow your “emerging adult” description! Yes, we do indeed speak a different language than our children and grandchildren. However, since my child is older than yours, I can tell you, they do eventually catch up with us and communicate somewhat on the same level, especially after they have children of their own! :)

    Thanks for sharing this one!