Monday, May 7, 2012

Go to the Place that's the Best

Try not to be cynical.

Grace comes in unlikely places.

There, outside a cheap falafel place, a modestly dressed young couple paused. On the table in front of them were two pitas wrapped in white paper. And two cups of water.

And as the lunchtime crowd raced around them, they were oblivious.

Not because they were in love (although they might have been).

Not because they were a rock-solid partnership taking their stance against an indifferent world (although, again, they might have been).

But because they bowed their heads.

And they both whispered long-memorized phrases of prayer.

Phrases that visibly brought them comfort and peace.

And a moment later, it was done. And they looked up and they smiled. And bit into the pitas.

I'm sure many of my atheist friends would mock them mercilessly, would tease them for believing in fairy tales, things that are clearly untrue.

But maybe that's not the point. Maybe it's not the truth that's so wondrous and magical.

Maybe it's the act of concentration, the bringing of Grace into a world that so desperately needs more.

They looked up and caught me staring. And they both nodded at me. Not wanting to convert me or preach to me, but just wanting to let that moment of Grace radiate out from them.

Norman Greenbaum sold two million copies of this record 42 years ago.

His previous band had broken up after scoring one minor novelty hit ("The Eggplant that Ate Chicago") a few years earlier.

And then one night Greenbaum (who was raised as a fairly conservative Jew) was watching TV and saw Porter Wagoner singing a gospel song.

And Greenbaum thought it would be fun to write a gospel song with psychedelic rock leanings. It took him 15 minutes.

You could claim this was an act of pure cynicism on his part. Or you could claim it was pure divine inspiration.

Whatever the case, the song (with its unmistakable fuzz-guitar) struck a nerve.

A small spot of Grace in a cynical world.

1 comment:

Donna said...

Such an amazingly fuzzy sound!