SATURDAY night radio in Melbourne is awful. There are two stations playing dance track after dance track. Ugh. Or another two playing what seems to be one slow romantic song after another. The chance to hear something about Romeo and Juliet and a lovesong for the fifth time that week is unappealing. So I turned off the radio as I drove on the tollway and then the freeway out of the eastern suburbs and towards home at around 10.37pm. Then there was just me, the sound of tyre on road and the hundreds of other vehicles making their way on a haunting autumn night. And I wondered if this was my life: work a job, fight sin, seek God, keep striving and try to get closer to people. Forty years of slog spanning ahead of me like a safe and reliable, but dull, freeway.
They catch you off guard those moments where for some reason, ‘bang,’ a thought or feeling gets through all the self-protection and everyday details. Like randomly listening to Hillsong United songs on the computer and you double click on track 7…“let chains be broken, lives be healed, eyes be open, Christ is revealed’ and you’re back there. In a living room on a Sunday in September where the same song was playing on a DVD and the memory of that moment is so real you can smell it. And haunting raw emotion wells up inside. Or you’re watching Veronica Mars, season 2, episode 18, and there’s a dream scene where Veronica has a 30 second dialogue with a dead gay classmate. He’s confident, a bit smug and you rewind it and watch the scene again. Watch him again. ‘What secret is he going to tell you?’ comes the thought questioning what the appeal of an effeminate character in a TV series is.
Last night you couldn’t take a conversation trick. Every comment seemed to fall flat and no connection with others seemed to be happening. So you resorted to questions. Lots of questions in an attempt to gain some speaking traction and feel competent with the added bonus of seeming interested. Then today, at church, it was the exact opposite. For whatever reason they just talked to you and then another person did and another person did. They comfortably entered into your personal space as you chatted cordially. ‘We should catch up sometime,’ someone said. ‘Do you want to come for lunch?’ asked another. I was surprised. Did I wake up this morning with flashing lights above my head that said ‘nice guy below; talk to him’? Last night was chalk and today was cheese. But who knows the whys of life that produces two really different experiences within the span of 15 hours.
The choice of movies at the cinema during school holidays is limited to one kid flick after another. So due to your interest in time travel stuff you suggest to your mate that 17 again looks okay and along with a hundred or so teenage Zac Efron fans you head into cinema 2. There’s an absolutely beautiful scene in it where the woman does some garden landscaping design for the first time ever and she shows Zac’s character who happens to be her estranged husband in the body of a 17-year-old. And for the first time he recognises her hidden talents and appreciates her in a new way while she basks in the glow of his praise and her achievement. It touched me and the scene lingers in my mind. When the DVD comes out you anticipate renting it and watching the scene a few times. There’s just a beauty about it.
You drive out of town and down a road. Probably passed where you should have been going, but you didn’t see any signs. So on you go one kilometre after another on an overcast Friday morning. The road becomes narrower and then turns to dirt and you start to climb out of the valley and into the hills. Up and up you go. Then you look out below and wow. God paints some breathtaking pictures. The valley of green grass, with the pretty small town in the distance and behind it more rolling hills. You could sit down here and never get tired of what spreads out below you. But with the beauty comes caution. The road is narrow, the drop is long and with the feelings of gladness there’s tenseness as well.
When I started writing this I had no great declaration to make or wisdom to reveal. Life goes on and on.
I want God more now. I wanted to witness to people during the week. Genuinely desired to for the first time in a fair while.
I’ve been challenged in sins of omission this week. Of not doing the right thing at the right time, of not taking the initiative to do what needs to be done. It’s not a weight, because Christ is my sinless substitute, but it’s an area to work on and allow God to work in my on.
The masturbation fight keeps up. Had a bit of a bad period, but I feel more confident I’m back on track and ready to go.
My housemate has found a room I can have for a few months while I look for something else, so that is good.
Without the internet at home I watched the first series of Jericho and have almost finished Veronica Mars’ second. When that one’s done I’m planning to give myself some more silence and see what happens. Maybe I’ll lie down and let the thoughts come and mull over them and pray. See what those moments know.