New Jersey, 2009

Electric signs on the highway flashed messages telling us to stay home and stop the spread. Small cars zipped past me tonight as I drove to the megamarket, their drivers’ faces illuminated by phones and dashboard screens. Strange how we’re so hell-bent on speed rather than slowing down, perhaps a misguided defense against decay. I passed a church sign that said, “Jesus paid the price, you keep the change.”

Do I believe in Jesus as a man, myth, or concept? I’m not sure. (But I hear a jangly echo of the Byrds singing that Jesus is just alright, oh yeah.) I recently learned the origin of Jesus’s chest wound: a final stab from a lance to ensure he was dead. The violence of Christianity still startles me, although it probably shouldn’t. Is suffering always a prerequisite for faith? I also learned the word “gospel” comes from “god spell,” an Old English phrase for “good news.”

Idling at a light, I glanced in the mirror and did not recognize myself. I’m still becoming familiar with the mirror-shock that signifies middle age. I have so much more grey hair this year.

The Byrds – Jesus Is Just Alright

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Each night in 2020, I wrote a short post for a series called Notes From the End of a World because I wanted to etch these days into my memory. Before the world changed completely.
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