In 2007, the band Good Charlotte came out with an album called Good Morning Revival. The album was recorded at a tumultuous time in the band’s history. For one, they had just replaced their drummer. For another, the lead singer of the band was going through what could politely be termed relationship drama with another singer who I happen to be fond of. While the two of them traded breakup anthems (She came out with “Stranger” and he countered with “I Don’t Want To Be In Love,” the most successful single on the album.), the album itself proved to be somewhat popular but not quite the revival they were looking for, only selling about 300,000 copies in the United States but doing far better abroad . Perhaps the band was wishing for revival not only in record sales and popularity, but also a revival of love and happiness in their personal relationships. This happened for the lead singer, albeit in an unexpected way, when he knocked up a girl and then chose to settle down and deal with the responsibilities of fatherhood, which offer a better hope for revival than pandering to contemporary music trends as an aging musician in one’s thirties.
Revival, however that word is defined, is a fervent hope of many people, even though many wish for revivals in different aspects of their lives. Many Christians, for example, long for a revival of righteousness in our societies where there is a wholehearted return to God and His ways (although, as is natural, different Christians would tend to focus on different areas where revival is necessary). The novelist Jane Austen wrote one novel whose main theme is revival , and that is Persuasion. In this novel, a young woman with a disastrous relationship history and a dysfunctional family feels as if she is past her prime, and it is only with a bit of a miraculous authorial intervention in the form of Lyme’s pleasant sea air that brings her bloom and cheer back along with the complications of love. A revival can be of the body, of the heart, of the mind, and of the spirit, and it is best when all of these elements are combined together interacting to reinforce each other in a virtuous cycle.
One of the more curious revivals that can be seen is the attempt among the Arabic-speaking countries of the Persian Gulf seeking to revive a local version of Sesame Street entitled Iftah Ya Simsim. This particular show had an original run that started in 1979 and ended because of the invasion of Saddam Hussein, where some of the muppets were taken as “prisoners of war” back to Iraq, where some of them have never been seen since then . Despite the fact that the show was long popular in the area and was credited with being among the most helpful pan-Arabic collaborations in education, the show was not able to survive the First Gulf War, even as it remained well-known long after its original run ended. In 2010, about twenty years after the show had been canceled by the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, efforts began at beginning the series anew. For the last five years, puppets have been made, scripts have been written, and the show has sought to spur a revival of Modern Standard Arabic to help preserve the language of Arabic in the face of massive vulgarization (which is largely blamed on the popularity of English and other Western languages) even while seeking goals such as encouraging the education of women. As of right now, the show is around the beginning of production, having had auditions a couple of months ago. It is ironic, but appropriate, that governments and private organizations from the Persian Gulf region are looking to the revival of a local version of Seseme Street to encourage a revival in their own formal language.
In whatever language it is spoken, the longing for revival expresses a desire to turn back the hands of time, to overcome the ravages of corruption and entropy. Such effort, whether it is recognized or not, symbolizes a desire to overcome the forces of decay inherent in the physical world, the attempt for mind to triumph over the limitations of matter. This is not an easy matter to achieve, but those who seek for revival, whether they wish to induce it on their own terms, or whether they wish for strength and encouragement from above, long for a reversal of the natural order, for improvement despite the massive efforts that it takes, so that we may recover from the losses sustained through the setbacks that life provides. Sometimes that revival is elusive and hard to find, but it is no less treasured for all that.
 See, for example: