Friday, October 27, 2006
Can I Get A "Amen"?
A lot of frivolity and insincerity gets thrown around here in the Bucket, and for good reason. The world is a pretty fucked up place. I like to provide, if only briefly-yet-over-verbosely, a little respite from the world's fucked-up-edness and give you all something a little bit totally useless and forgettable to wrap your heads around. It's what I do.
But even in a space like this, it's important to get serious every once in a while, to stop and take stock, to say something that needs to be said. The motivation is selfish--it's just something that I feel like I need to share--but the effect, even accidentally, could be profound for someone. If it helps or changes just one of you, it will have been worth it to waste every single other reader's time, I think. Before you get mad about having your time wasted, just think of it as status quo. Remember, you read a whole post about Willie Ames here once.
Today I want to give you my testimony. I want to tell you all about how I found and accepted Jesus.
They say that if you have any kind of substance abuse problem, you have to hit rock bottom before you can start recovery. I found out that that was true one day back in February. After a full night of two-fisted bingeing on my favorite drink, something I call a Cherry FUUUUUCK! (grenadine, absinthe, splash of club soda, lime twist), I woke up, flat on my back, at the bottom of a quarry. I don't remember how I got there. I don't remember taking off my clothes and I certainly don't remember the fire that cost me both eyebrows and 70% of my total bodyhair, but there I was, naked, mostly hairless, hungover to the point of death, as vulnerable as I ever had been in my life.
I remember lying there, squinting up at the damnable, judging late-morning sun as it bore down on me, stinging my fire-softened skin to an even deeper shade of pink, when all of a sudden, the sun went out. A total, immediate eclipse.
I nearly swallowed my tongue. Mostly it was because of the loss of voluntary muscle control caused by near-fatal alcohol poisoning, but the other part of it was surprise. There he was. I saw him. It was Jesus.
In fairness, he insisted on spelling it "Jesús" and saying it all funny and Spanish-y. But those are just details. All I know is there I was, in my time of need, naked and alone, and he found me.
I'll never forget the first words he said to me either. He was leaning over me, like I said, blocking out the sun. His head was enormous and it was backlit, obscuring his face. I couldn't even see his mouth moving when he said: "Eh, chingado, I didn't plan on seeing anybody's balls this soon after breakfast. Get your ass up before I call the cops or one of the bulldozers grinds your drunk ass up."
My Lord and Savior had spoken. He had even given me a new name, as He had once called Simon "Peter." I was now and forever after "Chingado."
I staggered to my feet, wavered a little bit, and clutched at him for support. That's when he took a step back and kicked me full in the sternum. I knew right then he was the Messiah. He was telling me: I must learn to stand on my own.
Message received, O Lord.
Since I couldn't remember how I'd gotten there, I had to follow him out of the quarry. Like a good shepherd, he showed me the way. He even gave me his jacket as we walked out. He said he it was because he was suffering from "visual pinga fatigue" but I know it was to protect me from the elements.
When we got to the top rim of the quarry pit, I tried to followed him into the office-trailer. That's when he stopped me.
"Eh, what the fuck, ese?"
I was confused. "I follow you," I said, smiling.
"Fuck off, loco, before I call a cop."
Ah! My first test of loyalty! I just nodded and smiled, waiting for further instruction.
"You heard me?" he said, taking a step toward me. "You can keep the fucking jacket, but you need to get lost, bitch, before you get hurt."
Get lost. The message rang in my ears. Be careful lest you come to harm. The words were all so clear. He was calling me to wander, to spread the message among the non-believers, but to be cautious because the world is filled with treachery and Judas-ness.
"OK, I'll do it. In your name," I said.
He pretended to be confused. Before I left, I wanted to touch him one last time, to make a memory to carry me through the long, hard road before me. And plus maybe steal some of that sweet miracle mojo I'd heard Jesus had. Chicks would dig it if I could bring their brothers back to life or turn water into wine or whatever.
Before I could reach him, he raised his hand to me.
"Back up. You heard me? Back up, bitch," he said.
Another test. I remembered Sunday school. I offered him my cheek.
He fractured my cheekbone in three places, I found out later. The Son of Man can really thrown a punch if he wants to.
I must have been experiencing some kind of religous ecstacy because I swooned and fell, with stars and sparks dancing in front of my eyes.
And then I saw an angel. She came out of the office trailer right behind my Lord. She looked at me and then back at the Messiah.
"Chuy, what the fuck?" she said with a voice like God's own bagpipe. "Dad said no more beating up dirty-ass vagrants, stupid. One of these days one of these crazy fuckers is going to have a knife or an AIDS needle or something. You want that?"
Wow, I thought. Jesus had a sister. I immediately tried to reconcile the idea in my head: if he's the Messiah, what does that make her? And what does it mean for my salvation that I would totally bang the Messiah's sister?
The signals were all so confusing. Internally, at least. Since I was still naked from the waist down, some of the signals were probably sort of externally apparent.
I did take some comfort in the fact that Jesus had chosen to come back to the world as a Mexican in America. A member of the downtrodden, the forgotten, the poorest among us. He was here to show the world an example of suffering and dignity from an ignored and oppressed segment of the world's most affluent society.
Without saying another word, He walked away from his sister, the office-trailer, stepped over me and got into a silver Audi Q7 SUV and drive away in a spray of gravel.
The Messiah's sister slipped back behind the office door. I heard it lock.
As I wandered away, down the long, lonely road back toward civilization and my old life, I was filled with a new purpose and perspective. I had wasted my days drinking and blacking out, missing whole weeks at a time from my memory, neglecting my friends and family, my personal hygiene and what had it gotten me?
A personal audience with Jesus.
I had been doing the right thing all along.
The world made sense and I was at peace.
I tried to get close to him in my few lucid (and some not-so) moments. I learned a lot about him, about how his "dad" owned that quarry and how his sister didn't always close the blinds in her room when she changed her clothes. I took the court-ordered thousand-foot no-contact radius as a further sign that I should make my own way in His name. And I took the arrest after several violations of the thousand-foot limit as a sign that my minsitry was to be inside lock-ups and drunk-tanks, which I dutifully visited with regularity.
I hope this helps some of you.
I love you all.
This post on the Narcissus Scale: 0.0