Happy: A Quest for Life After Death

Sunday, June 01, 2014


I’m afraid it speaks volumes about my (lack of) spiritual depth that I so often find profound meaning in pop songs. There was “The Fighter,” by Gym Class Heroes, and “Keep Your Head Up,” by Andy Grammer. This morning while I was jogging it was “Pompeii,” by Bastille.

And the walls kept tumbling down
In the city that we love
Great clouds roll over the hills
Bringing darkness from above

But if you close your eyes,
Does it almost feel like
Nothing changed at all?
And if you close your eyes,
Does it almost feel like
You've been here before?
How am I gonna be an optimist about this?

The topic of why I connect so solidly with a song about the destruction of a great city is for another day (OK, month).

But the trend really had me worried, so I started to think.

I’m sure you’ve heard the story about a woman looking for her keys under a streetlamp. Her brother, who has been visiting from Utah, offers to help, asking, “Is this where you lost them?”

“No,” she replies. “But the light here is best.”

The approach seems patently ridiculous. “Look for your keys where you lost them, you dingus,” my brother would say to me.

I’m often searching for things. Usually answers to questions like, "My city was beautiful. Why did Vesuvius erupt and destroy it?" and "How am I supposed to be optimistic when there's still lava seeping through my streets?" and "I miss the old Pompeii. The new construction is going really poorly. Can we get some beaches and mountains in here, and a food truck that serves chocolate 87 different ways?" and "What's the secret to getting ash stains out of my whites? Hot water doesn't seem to be doing the trick." 

I pray for answers to these questions, but truthfully I usually feel like I get no response. "Why is s God ignoring me?" is another question I often have.

So I look wherever I happen to be. It may be at church or in a verse of scripture but more likely it’s in the suds of the dishes I’m washing, or the leaves I’m raking in the yard, or the sprint I’m making from work to school to pick up the kids to home for dinner to the baseball field for the Little League game. Or in the pop songs my kids select on the car stereo.

Is God ignoring me, or is he so desperate to speak to me that he'll use whatever cheap medium is available?

“Ask [anything], and it shall be given you; seek [anywhere], and ye shall find; knock [on anything], and it shall be opened unto you.” (Matthew 7:7)

1 comment:

Jenny Andersen said...

You really are such a wonderful writer. I didn't know you had a blog until today and already I can't stop reading. I am so sorry for your loss; I didn't know about that either. I find your posts so thought-provoking and relatable in a strange way considering I haven't gone through what you have. Thanks for sharing with us! Happy Holidays :)