How I Ended Up In the Freak Show Part 4


When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit.
—Ephesians 1:13

The building was on fire, and it wasn’t my fault.
—Jim Butcher, Blood Rites

*   *   *

arrowsREAD PART ONE in which I relate my rise from the dank dungeons of Midwestern religion to the heady heights of heroic hedonism—including cool cars and snazzy suits.
READ PART TWO wherein is recounted some stoned adventures in Churchland and an encounter with a rather curious clergyman.
READ PART THREE which tells of a trepidatious visit to a cliff and of my precipitous leap from it.

 *   *   *


In the beginning was the Word—and I’m pretty sure the word was ambush. If I had known my Biblical history back then, I might have suspected God’s fondness for the burning bushwhack. Apparently he likes to pounce on people once in a while, to take a walk on the blindside. It seems that every so often God enjoys lobbing a nice little bombshell. And if you just happen to be the lucky stiff he jumps—well, too bad for you.

So after my no-frills, no-thrills meeting with the pastor that morning, I drove home from the church wondering what had just happened. Was I saved now or what? How was I supposed to tell? I knew that I was supposed to believe, but believing that I was a handsome millionaire rock star sex god didn’t make me one. The world was filled with people who believed totally weird stuff. For hundreds of years people believed that the earth was flat. Lots of little kids believed in Santa. And just a few days ago I had gone to work believing that I was wearing matching socks. So there I was, only ten minutes into salvation and the whole believe in Jesus thing was already starting to seem a bit shaky.


When I got home, I made a quick lunch, then changed into a suit for work at the menswear boutique. I had landed the upscale job during college. I loved the fancy clothes, the hip clientele, and the life of the perpetual party. The manager and assistant manager had become my good friends; after work we often tripped the starry dynamo together, pulling a well-dressed entourage in our glittery wake. Only a couple of nights earlier my assistant manager and I had auditioned the town’s latest Mary Jane star. I was a member of the social illuminati, counted among the little gods, the town’s arbiters of all things cultured and intoxicating.

I stood in my living room and stared out the window. I no longer knew who I was supposed to be. Somehow I knew that my days of manic debauchery were over, but I had no idea what was supposed to happen now. Was I supposed to be a nice guy and go to church a lot? Was I supposed to head to a monastery or stand on the street corner handing out religious tracts? Heck, I still wasn’t even sure that God himself was anything more than desperate wishful thinking.

Suddenly, without warning, the invasion began. Reality abruptly shifted like some subterranean spiritual shelf. Then, as if from an invisible chalice, something incomprehensibly and astonishingly alive began to pour over me. It coursed through me like liquid fire, engulfing me in a roiling, shimmering cloud of utter Being. We’re not talking some poetic enlightenment thing here. This was a thermonuclear visitation. Everything I had ever known or believed or experienced was obliterated by an overwhelming alien hard-core glory. I sunk to my knees under the weight. “You are real,” I whispered. “You. Are. Real.”

106040173_sideshow-freak-banner-2-face-man-2-14-pinback-button-When the initial onslaught had ebbed, I climbed unsteadily back to my feet. I was literally buzzing with powerful and inexplicable energies. Jesus was real—real!—and he had just shredded my entire cosmos. The world was charged with the presence of God. Doubts had collapsed in the face of irrefutable divine assertion. I knew that Jesus was who he said he was. I knew that I had been forgiven. I knew that his Spirit had filled me. Above all, I knew that I had just been annexed. Nothing would ever—could ever be the same.

By sheer instinct I stumbled out the door for work. It is a dangerous thing to loose upon the world a man possessed. A  dangerous thing indeed.

*   *   *

PART FIVE: Certifiable


3 Responses

  1. Really looking forward to part 5…enjoying this series so much!

  2. Fairly brilliant commentary! that you believe
    you wore matching socks–happens to me continually…

  3. Wish it wasn’t so long before installments of this story – guess I’m just a soap opera junky at heart.

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