you are forgiven

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Not the first time this has happened. I’m driving along in my van feeling stupid, guilty, back to square one, etc., and I send up a prayer like, “What the HECK, God? I want to drive off an overpass right now. Please give me a sign.” I don’t mean this as a Gideon’s fleece type of prayer. I really don’t mean to be testing God. I already know that he loves me! But these little prayers emerge naturally, like fire ants from a decaying tree stump.

Today I felt especially disconnected, shamed, ganged up on, paranoid, small, angry, sick, wicked, tempted, gross, unshaven, physically stinky, wronged, messed up, disgruntled, foolish, unsatisfied, broke, proud, needy, helpless, hopeless, yucky. In short: guilty, guilty, guilty. Although in my head I knew God had a plan for me, and that he was directing my steps (or, in this case, the mild swervings of my van), I still felt—how did we say it in the 80s?—grody. I felt grody to the max. So I sent up a desperate little prayer.

The prayer became like the Elven rope Galadriel gives Sam in the movie version of Lord of the Rings. Magic rope. Beautiful, holy, apparently thin but impossibly durable. Because I said the prayer while listening, absentmindedly, to the live version of the Who’s “A Quick One While He’s Away”—the final two minutes of which feature Pete Townsend singing, over and over, “You are forgiven! You are forgiven! You are forgiven!” I mean seriously, two minutes, and in a wild bed of crashing drums and electric guitar. Grace upon grace. I no longer pictured driving off an overpass.

I didn’t cry this time. I just knew. I didn’t even care whether it should be considered a “sign” or not. I recognized, however, one of the myriad reasons God allowed the lyrics of “A Quick One” to spring forth from Pete Townsend’s creativity 46 years ago.

Hence this modification of Genesis 50:20— “As for you, Pete Townsend, you meant it as an innovative nine-minute rock operetta, but God meant it for good, that Aaron Belz should be kept alive, as he is today.”

[Written & performed by The Who; Live at Leeds (1970)]

8 Responses to “you are forgiven”

  1. Kirby Olson Says:

    Beautiful. Beautiful. Beautiful.

    Ginsberg used to say something I like. “Be kind to yourself.”

  2. Eric Gage Says:

    People looking for signs tend to see them. Glad you’re feeling better.

  3. belz Says:

    Ah let’s not be so cynical, Dr. Gage. As little Stanley says near the end of “Magnolia,” “This happens. This is something that happens.”

  4. Marcel Says:

    I am glad you are still around. There is more comedy and poetry in you. Keep on writing, it will make you want to stick around.

  5. Steve West Says:

    Thank God for Pete Townsend. Persevere, Aaron.

  6. kirbyolson2 Says:

    You’ll probably be fooled again.

  7. araceli cruz Says:

    i love this! god + rock n roll

  8. mdiber05 Says:

    I like this. It expresses a True Point.

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