Friday, March 13, 2009

Tear in Your Hand

So yeah, I've been tying up loose ends and carefully packing up my life here because my position at the church here has been cut. I've been so busy trying to do the all the right and important things as I get ready to leave, that I hardly remembered that I got to have a birthday this year.

So it was very nearly a surprise when one of my favorite people came through the line after church last Sunday and handed me a card.
"Happy birthday, Josh!" she beamed at me.
"Oh!" I said, a little surpised as I took the card, "Thank you!"
"Open it!!" she insisted. So I carefully opened the card, in case something should fall out of it. Nothing did. I read the pre-printed text of the card first, a generic "happy birthday" kind of sentiment. I could feel her continue to beam as I read the handwritten note.
Happy Birthday, Josh
Neil Gaimen
I did a double-take, surprised and overjoyed as she laughed aloud—delighted, both of us. A few days later, she sent me a message via Facebook with a description from her personal journal of her trip into the city to meet Neil and get some things signed.
"Hi Neil!"
He gave me a huge smile, the biggest cresent moon without teeth but open like we were friends in the past. I don't remember the order of the things he signed, but here are my immediate notes. "My name's Elizabeth"
He looked down at Fragile Things,
Elizabeth, lovely name. With an s or a zed"
"A zed"
"I love your books, I'm sure you hear that all the time." I could see the tips of his smile through out the sinage and it made me truly joyful to see him smile because of what I'm saying, and he's listening. When he spoke to me, it was slow and I didn't feel rushed at all.
"When I would read your stuff and listen to Tori in highschool, I thought 'oh my gosh, there are still lovely and decent people in the world.'
"Tori is lovely, I am the latter" he said with self depricating smile.
When I showed him the poster:
He did a little gasp and said, "oh, that's Tori"
"Those are my favorite"
He asked me where to sign, I said anywhere
"I'm going to use the red pen and as he pointed to the place, right here."
When given Josh's card:
I said, "He introduced me to you and Tori. It's his birthday on Tuesday. It a pity because he's getting laid off. It really hurts."

I was really struck by her words, well, first of all just because I like her writing—then because I think I knew that I'd introduced her to Tori's music but I hadn't quite known that I'd introduced her to both Tori and Neil's work. Then I was struck by how something so inconsequential turned out not to be. I had no idea that the simple act of identifying some of my favorite music, some of my favorite writing, would lead to the thought, "Oh my gosh, there are still lovely and decent people in the world." Then, finally—though certainly not least—I was struck by the very simple and honest reaction to my current situation. It is a pity that I cannot continue as pastor of this church. And it does really hurt.

But as I'm writing this, my iPod is playing "Dare! Dare to believe you can survive! You hold the future in your hand. Dare! Dare to keep all your dreams alive..." I truly believe that God talks to us through music and literature and film and art in general. Keep your ears and your hearts open, dear and faithful readers, because you never know when something new to you might make you think, "Oh my gosh, there are still lovely and decent people in the world."

Be good to each other,
Rev. Josh

Song lyrics | Goodnight lyrics

1 comment:

Spooky said...

You are one of those lovely, decent people, you know. It is a joy to know you, and an honor to be called "friend" by you.