In college, I had a roommate who used to say that she could tell the kind of day I was having by the kind of music I was listening to in my car. If I picked her up from soccer practice and I was listening to Jennifer Knapp, then all was right in the world and we would make dinner and laugh and watch Friends re-runs until we went to bed. But, if I was listening to Ben Folds, ripe with curse words to sing along with, or if I wasn’t listening to music at all, then she knew I would bug off with the excuse that I had a paper to write and I would go seek solitude in my room or at the library for the rest of the night.
I went through an introspective, kind of lost season during my senior year of college, when we lived off campus and I had the only car and my roommate spent a lot of time riding shotgun, and I flipped between Ben Folds’ Rockin’ the Suburbs and Ben Folds Five’s Whatever and Ever Amen. This went on for months. But, on the day that I ejected the Ben Folds CD and inserted Passion: Hymns Ancient and Modern, she was in the passenger seat, and she put her hand on my shoulder and she said, “It’s good to have you back.”
It’s funny how well someone knows you by the end of four years lived side by side.
I think about this sometimes, when I catch myself flipping off the Christian satellite station in my car in favor of the melancholy Coffehouse station. Because sometimes I change it just because Christian music can suck and miss the point, but sometimes, like my friend pointed out to me many moons ago, it’s because I’m in a place where I want to sing along with all the swear words.
Actually, I’ve noticed that this is only the first of many signs of all not being right in Whoville. First, I stop listening to music that directly talks about God and Jesus. But, then I stop reading and start watching a whole lot of crime show reruns, the dark kind, like Law and Order: SVU. Then I stop writing, and the blog goes quiet. Then I stop going to the gym, and I stop caring if I’m drinking enough water. Then I start sleeping poorly and getting migraines. And then I don’t answer my phone when it rings, and then I stop responding to text messages and emails. And then I get sick of people and I don’t even want to drive across town to see the BFF or the neph-in-love.
Yesterday, though, I did it anyway.
I got up and went to the gym, and I worked out with my trainer and I ran on the treadmill. And when I got home, I drank water and made oatmeal.
And I drove across town, and I played with the neph-in-love, and I stayed long after dinner talking to the BFF and her husband, who happens to be my oldest friend, and I told them about the garbage that’s taking up space in my head the last couple of days.
I drank water in addition to my coffee, and I ate a banana when I wanted M&Ms. And when I got home last night, I didn’t turn on the TV. I read a couple chapters in a novel about a guy who came to know God because his best friend had more faith than anyone he’d ever met.
I did it even though I had a migraine, and I hadn’t slept well, and I didn’t want to see people.
I did it anyway.
There are still emails and phone calls and text messages to return, but this is a start.
This is the place to start doing things differently. This is the place where I don’t let the darkness win. It can have yesterday, but it cannot have today. This is the place where I chose sleep, and exercise, and reading, and all the things that are good for me. This is where I remember that Jesus is still doing transforming work in my life, and this is where I start to give Him control of yet another piece that I’ve hung onto for far too long.
And this is the place where good changes start.
When we do it anyway.