This is Epth Nation

Epth is a state of mind, not a place. Reading this will give you a virtual drivers license in that state, but you'll still need to be 21 to purchase alcohol. And you can't get any there anyway, so stop asking.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Last Night (Really a Few Nights Ago)


“A job’s a job and a…a look’s a look but…inner peace is for eternity”

(O.C. Supertones)

“I don’t know what that means.”

(me, 2 seconds later)

I’m going to warn you right away that you shouldn’t expect this story to have a point.

Also, those who can’t stand exposure to things like the word “Jesus” and concepts like “God” are probably going to hate this story, even though it’s what they need to hear most.

This story starts out like most of my stories – with me delivering pizzas. I started the night out in kind of a desperate funk, with my mind both tired and completely saddened by a torrent of issues that had been building for weeks. The sum of those issues equaled the fact that everything I was doing needed to change, and not in a way that I wanted it to. That’s what I was being called to do. I was feeling a little whiny about this, but mostly I was feeling the weight of the world on my shoulders. My life and the life of my wife were the two main things up there, and it was really heavy. I walked through life with a frown on my face and a gremlin with big arms tugging at my step.

Eventually I discovered the freedom of saying “Here, God – you take it.” That was the first step, the first act of taking responsibility for this weight. I know it doesn’t sound like taking responsibility, but that’s exactly what it was. Before I gave it to God, I didn’t really understand it, which gave me an out. I didn’t have to think about it because I had no idea what to do. Now, with my life staring me right in the face, glaring at me with unblinking eyes, it was clear that I couldn’t handle it by myself. I mean, I could have made some sort of go of it with only my mind to rely on – it’s not like I was at my wits’ end or anything. I just knew it was time to let go because that’s what God wanted me to do. So I gave my life to God and said, “Do with it what thou wilt.” I said those exact words, out loud, in my car.

The weight was still there, although I had more of a peace about it at this point. I was looking for something to listen to that would affirm me and help me in this critical time, and I ended up turning on Power 89.7, the “Christian Rock” station around here. And by “rock” I mean “real rock,” and not the adult-contemporary Christian “rock” the secular moron thinks of when he hears the term. The first thing I heard is the quote I mentioned at the beginning of this essay, from the OC Supertones. Now, much of the weight perched on me is focused on my job situation, but I still had no idea what to make of “A job’s a job but…inner peace is for eternity.” I knew what it meant – Spiritual rewards are more important and lasting than material ones – but I just knew I needed (and still need, btw) a new job.

I ended up becoming frustrated with the Christian Rock thing by song #2, and put in a Christian CD. It really wasn’t doing it for me either, and I didn’t know why. Didn’t God have some sort of message for me, His follower? Maybe some instructions so I don’t have to fumble around here like a man with cracked glasses looking for his car keys in the snow? I still had the giant weight, and now had the additional burden of having to wait for an answer for which I didn’t even know the corresponding question. The whole thing was making me crazy.

I looked down at my CD’s, which were located in the little cubbyhole underneath the stereo. The 2nd one down was a CD clearly marked “A-10 Shun.” It was named after the first song, “Attention” by Commander Tom. That, and I like the thought of shunning the Atlantic 10 Conference. Anyway, I knew I had to listen to it. It’s precisely at this point that our story took a turn and became either a bona fide Spiritual happening or a self-fulfilling prophecy that played out entirely in my own mind. I obviously believe it’s the former, but if you’re inclined to believe otherwise I won’t be mad. After all, there were no witnesses in my mind to corroborate the event. And if there were, would you really believe them?

I took the CD out of its case and loaded it into the CD player of the car, which sucked it in and started playing “Attention.” It is, as you might have guessed, a techno song. And just like most techno songs, the beginning starts simple and builds to a complicated crescendo that’s scientifically formulated to sound cool. The instant the drums and boings started thumping and boinging, I knew I had made the right decision. It was heavenly. I normally like techno, but this was like…the only thing I can really compare it to is eating cheesecake. And not just any cheesecake, but my mom’s cheese cake with the sweet sour cream topping. It was that good. You know what else?

I hadn’t felt this close to God in years.

I know I know, feelings are fleeting and can be influenced by 1000 factors that have nothing to do with God, but I’m telling you God was there. Jesus was there, hugging me. The song built and built to the inevitable crescendo, and when it hit, I felt joy like a fat kid in the desert who comes upon a cake. It was unstoppable, amazing, and transcendent. I’ve never experienced anything quite like it. The weight was, in that moment, taken from me and put at the feet of God. I no longer felt it in the front of my mind. All I felt was joy in my entire being as I drove down the road. My face was even smiling.

Eventually, the lyrics kicked in. Believe it or not, this is all there is to them:

C’mon don’t hesitate, hesitate…and show me your attention!

I was too busy being joyfully hugged to understand the implications of what this stupid techno song was telling me. It was only later that I got it – God wanted my attention, right now. It’s when my attention is somewhere else that I get into trouble.

The joyful God-hug continued through the second song (“Living my Life” by Sylver), which has some of the most cringe-worthy lyrics known to man. At one point, Sylvy sings “Got my train of inner thoughts back on the tracks of life.” That’s like…worse than a Point of Grace lyric. But its lameness didn’t stop it from applying to my situation. Check it out:

Livin’ my life…again. Swept away by the winds of change…taking time to rearrange.

That’s exactly what was happening in my life. Of course, these lyrics are so vague and meaningless they could apply to virtually any situation. Not so with song #3, “Glory of Our Lives” by The Echoing Green. It starts out with this statement:

Anything and everything is meaningless when forever’s waiting. We’re captive to this place…for now.

So that’s what the Supertones were trying to say! In my emotional and joyful state, the words hit me like a candy-coated punch. We may be captive to many responsibilities over the course of our lives, but our lives are only temporary. What really matters is what Jesus has done, which has taken the real weight off us and put it on Himself. That’s what makes “anything and everything” meaningless compared to the love that’s been given to us. I don’t have to worry – it’s in God’s hands. I told you giving it to God was the first step! Admit it, you thought I was crazy. Maybe you think I’m crazy now. I don’t care, because as Joey Belville says, forever’s waiting.

It’s at this point, midway through song #3, that my Spiritual experience ended. I went back to Commander Tom, and it was just another techno song – no overwhelming joy involved. I didn’t have any desire to listen to techno, so after a couple of minutes I took the CD out again. My weight was still there, but I was no longer in despair. I don’t know why God chose that moment to wrap me up in Jesus and spit me out a new man, but I’m very thankful that He did.


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