IVP - Strangely Dim - Not Just Anybody

December 8, 2005

Not Just Anybody

All the mania surrounding The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe notwithstanding (some of which has trampled me underfoot; see yesterday's post), "Narnia Eve" shares a date with another significant milestone: the twenty-fifth anniversary of the death of John Lennon.

I've tended to be a Paul McCartney guy, myself, but as a songwriter and founder of the Beatles, Lennon was a force of popular music. You can still hear his influence even on people who don't know they've been influenced by him.

I was ten when John died. I don't remember the moment, but I do remember the aftermath. My family went to the library the next day, where we joined a room of people watching news reports. I acted like a ten year old, running around and goofing off, and I was rebuked and chased away by the gathered crowd. It was a brief foreshadowing for me that the world is not as innocent and playful as we're allowed as children to imagine it.

I was ill-prepared today to commemorate John's passing, but fortunately I was able to borrow the soundtrack to The Royal Tenenbaums, which features a little song by John: "Look at Me." I'd not heard it before, but it's emblematic of some of John's most intimate writing:

Look at me. What am I supposed to be? . . .
Here I am. What am I supposed to do? . . . What can I do for you? . . .
Who am I? Nobody knows but me. . . . Nobody else can see--just you and me.

Maybe he's singing to Yoko or his mom or his dad or the universe or me, but the genius of it is that it sounds like something you whispered just last night to a lover or a parent or the universe. Anyone can sing it to anyone at any given moment. I might sing it to God; God might sing it to me. Either way, it'll occupy my thoughts long after it's sung.

In the wake of these lyrics or these thoughts I'm reminded of my own finiteness and of the grace of God, who comes to us and reveals himself to us and abides with us--a great favor to a world of people who can only comprehend so much. I'm reminded of a quirky little line from St. Augustine I came across in David Benner's book The Gift of Being Yourself:

Grant, Lord, that I may know myself that I may know thee.
Posted by Dave Zimmerman at December 8, 2005 12:00 PM Bookmark and Share

Comments

Larry Crabb's text, Safest Place On Earth reminded me of truths that at one time I knew, but had sadly forgotten: that my identity is more than my job, that my Lord is capable of handling my stress, and that brokenness could be an opportunity for healing. Knowing that a better answer existed, my distractions no longer seemed to placate. I caught the vision of what could be, and had a hard time enjoying life as I once did. I grew tired of performing for others what I knew to be an empty show. I couldn’t bring myself to simply please others, knowing deep inside there was little pleasure in myself. My façade was exposed, laid bare before me. I lost interest in hiding from my Lord or hiding from others. This discomfort prompted a search within me for the answer only my Lord could give.

Comment by: Steve at December 13, 2005 4:50 PM

Thanks for posting, Steve. I come back to this encounter of Jesus with two blind men: "What is it you want me to do for you?" he asks. "Lord, we want to see," they say. The absurdity of it all is a lot like sitting on Santa's lap at the mall, except that Jesus turned around and gave them sight. I like the idea that it's often enough just to express what we don't particularly like about our current experience--giving voice to our longing robs it of its power over us--but then every so often God reminds us that what's impossible for us is not impossible for him. It reinforces the value of sharing our vulnerabilities and carrying one another's burdens.

Comment by: dave at December 14, 2005 8:14 AM

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Behind the Strangeness

Lisa Rieck is a reader and writer who likes to discuss good ideas over hot drinks and gets inspired by the sky. She takes in all kinds of good ideas as a proofreader for InterVarsity Press.

Rebecca Larson is a writer/designer/creative type who has infiltrated IVP's web department, where she writes and edits online content. She enjoys a good pun and loves the smell of freshly printed books.

David A. Zimmerman is an editor for Likewise Books and a columnist for Burnside Writers Collective. He's written three books, most recently The Parable of the Unexpected Guest. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/unexpguest. Find his personal blog at loud-time.com.

Suanne Camfield is a publicist for InterVarsity Press and a freelance writer. She floats ungracefully between work, parenting and writing, and (much to her dismay) finds it impossible to read on a treadmill. She is a member of the Redbud Writers Guild and blogs at The Rough Cut.

Likewise Books from InterVarsity Press explore a thoughtful, active faith lived out in real time in the midst of an emerging culture.

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