Judas Priest’s “Hell Bent For Leather” slammed through the tiny car speakers, at a volume much louder than forty-two year old ears were normally in agreement with, while long-overdue snow, February-fattened by the still-unfrozen lake, came barreling down and forward kamikaze-style towards my windshield. Combined, they helped to create an experience unlike any I have ever felt before, one that made my 60 mph feel much more like a warp speed 9. One that took me out of the driver seat of my little Versa and into the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon. The icy road gave nowhere for my tiny tires to latch on to, thus lending to the experience a feeling even more transcendent and dreamlike.
Jumping from lane to lane in a effort to tunnel past the dawdling red orbs of those other drivers who were moving much slower than I, it still felt as if my car was standing perfectly still, if not actually losing ground. The feeling made me queazy and uneasy, but a touch excited at the same time. Somewhere in the back of my skull, a little mother screamed at me to slow down, but I couldn’t. It was too much of an experience to embrace, especially when in consideration that not once in the forty-two years my ears have been alive, have I ever felt anything even close to the same. It didn’t end until my exit jumped up to greet me, and I was reduced to once again traveling at speeds more legal, on roads more treacherous though signaled.
Now, I don’t want to say that what occurred was one of those “life flashing before your eyes” type of moments, but only because it was exactly not that. I suppose that I mention the feeling however, because what I did undergo could best be understood if it were envisioned as sitting across from that type of experience, playing checkers and getting on quite famously together. And the feeling was this: while pummeling down the road, braving an army of fat snow flakes and bobbing red orbs, it dawned on me just how pointless the whole thing was. Is. All of it. But not in a bad way. Not in a “slamming me to a halt” sort of way, but rather, a “lifting me above it all” sensation. That little mother in the back of my head had nothing to fear, as nothing bad could really ever happen. It may have seemed scary to her, but I actually was in control. Of course, I had nothing to fear either. Even as I blindly rushed towards school, fretting about the fact that I would be late to take an Ecology test that I had forgotten to study for (why Ecology????).
It dawned on me, this rushing about and studying and sometimes failing are all manmade things. Things that have no purpose or reason in the real world, other than to make us feel good about ourselves. And I don’t mean our “real world”, but rather the world’s real world. Life’s real world. So, in those few moments spent racing head-on into Mother Nature’s fat white army, I felt not my life, but the world flash before my eyes. And I was liberated as a result. I needn’t fear. The world would continue on, even if I was late to class. Even if I did poorly or in fact failed the test I had forgotten to study for (why Ecology????). The world would even carry on if I allowed at least one set of those little red orbs to hold me back from achieving – what under those conditions – was to be considered breakneck speed. And from there, I was pulled into even wider things. The world would carry on pretty much regardless of anything that might happen. If I never get out of my dead-end job, the planet won’t care. If I somehow happen to find or create a new future, career-wise, the world will be similarly nonplussed. Should I lose C even, the world will still turn. When I lose my dad later this year, it will continue to as well. And should I somehow damage relationships along the way with any of my Three, or others that I love – or the others that I don’t love – nothing will change. That damned planet is just going to keep on spinning. I am just one tiny prick (pun intended) on the stipple of Life. And free as a result.
And if matters as important as this are – in the grand scheme of things – of no real importance at all, then how much less important still must the vein search for cash, cars, glory and girls be? How wasteful of our time can the pursuit of power, fame and position be? And why do we find ourselves rushing about on snow-blind nights, searching these things out, instead of simply enjoying our freedom from them?
Now, I know none of this is exactly “news” to you, and assuming you haven’t fallen asleep by this point, I wanted to let you know that I already knew it as well. But there was something within this particular moment, this one nugget of unforeseen time, that allowed me gleam the whole blessed wreck from God’s viewpoint instead of my own. Or in other words, for a brief moment I was able to see the “whole” of it instead just the “now”. And in so doing, I realized that the now of it was all that truly mattered. Some of you who dig through my mental rubbish on a weekly basis might now be thinking, “so could this be the long-overdue response from J.C. you were in search of a few weeks back?” I’d like to think it was. But even if it wasn’t, I was glad of the experience. I was glad to be reminded that most – if not all – of the things we as humans chase after, have nothing at all to do with our humanity. And all the things that do, are right there at our finger tips the whole time, free for the taking. All we need to do is stop running into the world, and reach out to it instead.
The song included in today’s post was the one that I was listening to as I ended my journey (both spiritually and physically) while pulling into the campus parking lot. And yes, it is actually on the same disc as the first song mentioned today. Don’t ask, my mixes can get pretty nasty. Anywho, I’m including it here, because it felt like such a fitting way to end my “ride”, bringing into even greater focus the nonsense with which we surround ourselves. Of course, I’m also including it because it’s damned good. The brainchild of Ben Folds, Henry Rollins and one Mr. William Shatner, I fear too few people know of it’s existence. An error I hope to remedy somewhat today.
And yes, I’m using the Avatar version. Because Avatar is way cool.