It was a completely unexpected moment, and it wasn't on my to-do list.
I had twenty-four hours, kid-free, with my wife, to celebrate our anniversary.
We had it all planned:
Go for a a great run,
eat a great meal,
watch a great movie,
and most importantly- sleep in!
We had checked almost everything off our list. After watching a bit of the Woody Allen film, "To Rome with Love," my wife had decided she wanted to get outside and run. I voted to stay in bed and finish the rest of the movie.
Now this was a very rare morning. Actually odd. Not just that I lounging in bed watching a movie at 10am, kid free, in a random hotel in luxurious San Jose, but just an hour earlier, when I woke up, (ah what a gift to sleep in until 9am), my mind was singing the chorus of a Lady Gaga song.
Now, before you roll your eyes...
I am not above Lady Gaga. I may have trouble admitting singing along to Justin Bieber, but not Lady Gaga. So scoff if you want, but this was something supernatural.
And yes, it was a bit perplexing to acknowledge that God might speak to me through a scantily clad, raw meat wearing, artist.... but he did.
So how you ask? Listen to the song. And I stress the word LISTEN. For some of you may need to not watch, if you have issues with a Gaga's tight, leather-wearing, dance moves as she straddles everything in sight.
But don't be distracted from the truth at hand.
I experienced God in a deep way, and to this day, when I hear this song. I'm able to find hope in God's presence with me. See the lyrics here, and focus in on the chorus:
I'm on the edge of glory
And I'm hanging on a moment of truth
Out on the edge of glory
And I'm hanging on a moment with you
I'm on the edge with you.
Could it be possible that God's love might pour through someone that doesn't even realize it? By all means, I believe so. I woke up that morning with a sense of God's incredible closeness, because of a pop song, that honestly,
-- I had never really listened to fully before.
With that song, I was affirmed that God had always been with me all my life, all my years of marriage, and that we are always living on this "edge of glory."
Every decision made, every problem that needs to be solved, every dream that is being pursued is an opportunity to experience God, to experience his glory.
God is right there, in every moment, with truth, doing something, something that could only be explained as GLORIOUS.
The ironic part of this experience was that in this season of life, it felt anything but glorious.
If you've read my posts (from grief to disillusionment), this season has been hard. But God was saying in the difficult moments: THERE IS GLORY.
Glory to be had and glory to come.
Let me TRY to define what I mean by glory.
It is both a noun and a verb, a feeling and a truth, both the embodiment and culmination of: everything praiseworthy, wonderful, beautiful and majestic. It is great gratification and exultation, the height of prosperity and achievement.
Yes, words limit this definition. But GOD IS GLORY, gives GLORY and somehow IN EVERYTHING.. HE DOES defines Glory and makes EVERYTHING Glorious.
So this Gaga song is stirring in my head as I'm watching Woody Allen's film. And it all collided together for me. I had a supernatural moment of hope and life!
I don't have time to philosophize on Woody Allen film theory, and I'm no Roger Ebert.
But here's what I know. On the most basic level, this goofy guy, with a messy personal life (just like us all), who's been around Hollywood for the longest time, knows how to tell a good story, (usually with very quirky and unique characters).
Woody's films explore humanity's deep questions.
Why do we exist?
What is life all about?
Is there a God, and if so why so much evil in the world?
Almost all of his movies ask these (and many more) questions.
And in this particular film, set in my most favorite of all places, ROME, his characters go through some interesting conflicts in relationships and with fame. Both Woody's character in the film and another main character point out there stance on God. (One declares his atheism, and another declares he doesn't know if God exists and people react negatively toward him).
But the crux of the story for me?
Who knows me?
Who loves me?
Who will be there for me when relationships don't work like we want themto and fame doesn't satisfy like we thought it would?
What happens when people don't give us the credit we think we deserve?
So there I was. On my knees. Weeping. And celebrating the answer to those questions.
On my anniversary, I could celebrate the love of my wife and the great years of marriage.
I was reflecting on my life, my questions, my disappointments, my unanswered questions, my dreams, life and death and everything in between.
And all I could do was thank God. All I could do was acknowledge something GLORIOUS, something good, something meaningful was happening.
I thanked God for choosing me, knowing me, being with me, providing for me, guiding me, and putting loved ones in my life.
And I thanked God for using what is important to me (music and film), to give me his truth in a meaningful and compassionate way.
Thank you God.
Thank you Gaga.
Thank you Woody.
2 Corinthians 3:12-18
Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold. We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to prevent the Israelites from seeing the end of what was passing away. But their minds were made dull for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read, it has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away. Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.