Wednesday, July 29, 2009

“We Are All F . . ed Up” and Other Truths from Strange Places


Saturday was an incredible day. The weather was perfect, Robin-egg blue skies over tortoise seas, white-capped mountains in almost a 360 degree dispersion around our little island.

I started my day with my usual 6-7 mile ride over our little mountain pass and into our fishing village. The pass again was fogged in that time of morning and with my sunglasses had so much internal fog that I could barely make out the white line beside the highway. I couldn’t stop to wipe them either until I passed the apogee.

Ramsey met me at Starbucks for our book reading time and talk. I’m now half way through Tender is the Night and am enjoying it . . . despite it being more of a soap opera genre. We finished up our reading time early. I wanted to go to a philosophy discussion group that meets one Saturday per month, but the Shipwreck Days lured me in a different direction.

Shipwreck Days is where the entire village is turned into a fascinating open-air market of crap. But good crap . . . flea market crap. There were thousands of people in town to look and to barter . . . people all the way from California, Idaho and Alaska. The only thing I bought was a handful of polished fossilized snail from a rock hound. I will use them when I make my next concrete counter tops in the bathroom. While I was paying for the rocks, a shopper made pointed out to the vendor (in an arrogant way) that the note “30 Million Years Old” above the snails was wrong and that the earth is really only a few thousand years old. “Evangelical” I said in my mind. The vendor, being a good salesman just chuckled and responded in a kind way, “What is time among friends?”

Denise and Amy are still in the bowels of Africa and our communications have been scant. They don’t have Internet and the pre-paid cell phone has expired. But I know that she is coming home in just one week. This gives me a sense of panic about getting things done. I have a huge amount of my outside summer chores . . . plus now I have a huge amount of Denise’s indoor chores to do. I’ve let some of them slide, like vacuuming. We have a 125 pound, long haired, Saint Bernard who leaves a trail of hair everywhere. But I figured that if I vacuumed now, it would not be noticeable by the time Denise gets back. I also figured out that I much more prefer my big shop vac over the dainty (and much more expensive) house vac. But I did scrub the kitchen, wash and hang out clothes, scrub the toilets and change the bed linens. Outside I split wood (which heats our house in winter), spread mulch, weed-eated and tackled a huge job of cleaning the shed now that my son’s friend’s motorcycle (in a million parts) is out.

I finished my chores by 4 PM; okay I didn’t finish them, but more like they finished me. I took a break then went and climbed our little 1200 foot mountain (two miles up, a mile and half back down) and headed out to kayak in the sound. But my beach has been closed and I couldn’t find a place to launch.

Be patient I’m getting to the “We Are All F---ed Up” segment soon.

On my way around the west side of our island, I picked up a hitch hiker. He was a young guy with long straight hair down passed his waist. It was a bit funny, but I have the top off the jeep and the wind was blowing so hard that his long hair was whipping me across the face that stung and creating a fog of locks between me and the windshield that made it hard to see to drive. He kept trying to hold on to his hair and saying, “Hey dude . . . I’m sorry man.” I just had to laugh. Out of pity, I drove past my house and another five miles out to the main highway to give my rider a better chance to catch a ride.

The parking lot where I dropped him off was on Pass Lake, a beautiful mountain, fly fishing lake. I had totally lost track of time (something that seems to happen easily now that I’m bach-ing it this month) . . . it was 8:30 PM. What the heck, I thought. No one cares where I am right now. I just have a big empty house waiting on me. So I threw my kayak into the water and had a marvelous time paddling across the large silent lake of glass as the sun was low in the West. Just one lone fly-fisherman in one of those inflatable pants things shared the mile-long lake with me.

As I was putting my kayak back on the jeep I looked at the time. It was now after 9 PM and I thought, the only things I’ve had to eat today were two brown sugar and cinnamon Pop Tarts and one carrot. Okay, I had two Mochas too. But for some frustrating reason, I exercise like crazy, eat like a bird and still have that middle aged chunk. I was always skinny as a rail. I know the mochas’ don’t help.

So I went home and ate two crabs (that a crab fisherman-patient had given me) a bottle of Alaskan Amber. I looked at the time and it was 10 PM and I felt pretty much awake and with some energy left. So (finally I’m getting to the point) I thought, this will be the year that I go to the What-the-heck Fest and listen to Kimya Dawson.

The fest happens every year as the younger crowds counter part to Shipwreck Days. Kimya has been part of the concert series for each of the past three years (since she is a local). Her music really grew on me as she did the vocals for the Juno sound track (the monotone ballads). Comcast is now using the same style in their commercials.

The point I was getting to (via the title of this post) is that she had an accompanist this time, a young man with very long hair (pictured from the back with Kimya singing above) that I was confident was the same man I had picked up earlier in the day . . . but it wasn’t. This man was from the UK. He played the mandolin very well. Then Kimya asked him to sing his song that he had written.

I wish I could find the lyrics online. I can’t even find his real name. But he song starts out talking about a few problems then it hits the chorus, “We’re all f**ked up, We’re all f**ked up, We’re all f**ked up.” Later in the song when he sang the chorus again, he added, “Our brother and sister are all f**ked up, or parents are all f**ked up, the police are all f**ked up . . . yes we are all f**ked up!”

I certainly started to feel very uncomfortable with 5-600 people, ages 15 to 25 sitting around me reacting so positively to the song. I mean as culturally liberal as I am, those words being shouted out still hit me in the gut.

At this point, it reminded me a little of something Francis Schaeffer once said about the protesters at Berkley. They fought for the right of free speech. When they finally got it, there were so many things that needed to be said, questions to ask . . . but at first, all they could do is walk up to the microphone and scream the “f” word.

But as uncomfortably as I felt, it went to the next level. The singer asked the entire warehouse full of people to sing along with him. They began to scream those same lyrics over and over and it seemed that I was the only one not screaming it.

But then I started (which is not humanly possible) to look at this situation through the eyes of Jesus. The sting of the words faded, but the message came to the forefront. Yes, they are correct, we are all “f**ked up.” It is simply the current colloquial expression of: Romans 23: 22This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, 23for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

I looked at the crowd and felt a lot of hope rather than a deep offense. My hope is, this generation understands a great Biblical truth far better than the previous ones. Knowing that you are all “f**ked up” is the first step of finding the cover in Jesus.

6 comments:

pennyyak said...

Evening, MJ -

I'm trying to find the titles of one book and one short story, which HUG might know - also I think there's at least one other SF fan that reads your column.

Sorry, yes, enjoyed your post as usual, and apologize for using your comment board for this purpose. Googled this stuff to no avail.

Short story (I think). Priest is in spaceship (coming back?) from perhaps scientific study (must be a Jesuit). Anyway, discovers that bright star that led wisemen to Jesus was explosion of star that destroyed a civilization. Priest in great anguish.

Book, written by German author(?), but widely read in English. German soldier's activities and thoughts in WWII (or WWI) - thought of as an anti-war book. One is sympathetic toward character, although it has been MANY years since I've read this book. Possibly(?) written prior to 1960. Fiction (?)

Again, my apologies.

Penny

MJ said...

No problem. We need a big spot light that we can point up to the clouds that has a big H U G on it . . . you know, like the bat wings. wink.

pennyyak said...

LOL - so true.

adventuresinmercy said...

This was good...


(PS. pennyyak, sf fan here...hope you find the name of that book!)...

Anonymous said...

Isn't "WE'RE ALL F**KED UP" just a restatement of the idea of Original Sin?

Never mind Al Gore's "The Planet is running a fever". It's more than that: THE COSMOS IS BROKEN.

Short story (I think). Priest is in spaceship (coming back?) from perhaps scientific study (must be a Jesuit). Anyway, discovers that bright star that led wisemen to Jesus was explosion of star that destroyed a civilization. Priest in great anguish. -- Pennyak

"The Star" by Arthur C Clarke.

Book, written by German author(?), but widely read in English. German soldier's activities and thoughts in WWII (or WWI) - thought of as an anti-war book. One is sympathetic toward character, although it has been MANY years since I've read this book. Possibly(?) written prior to 1960. Fiction (?) -- Pennyak

All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque?

pennyyak said...

Headless, thank you so much. Absolutely correct. "All quiet..." was a movie too, wasn't it? I've seen so many war movies, I don't know. They were my dad's favorites. Anyway, thanks again for helping me.