And I Just Called Them Jesus Freaksbyjthserra©
When I consider the pilgrims who followed a star, I realize it was fate, that one Christmas Season when I found Jesus at the North Star Mall in San Antonio, Texas. Some people call them "Children of God," those who are strangely blessed to walk in a self-shaped light, shining in prayer and converting "lost souls," but I just called them "Jesus Freaks." They were the ones floating in long, ragged hair and flowery shirts, hovering on a different plane in bell-bottoms and loose fitting skirts. I could pass them without looking, as I would a mild spectacle on the edge of my perception. That is until . . . until one stood smiling before me!
He stood with hair to his shoulders, misshapen bangs and glassy eyes, and asked me, "Do you know Jesus?"
I paused, thought a moment, then slyly smiled and replied, "Sure. In fact he's the one who gave me a ride to the mall."
Without hesitation, he gently smiled and with sparkling eyes offered me the true meaning of the season: he offered me the truth of it all. I was stunned, shaken by his unabashed devotion, but there was something appealing in him, so we walked to a bench at the center of the mall and sat down to talk more.
There, beneath a skylight, with beams of light accenting his every word, he talked of love, of prayer and of his Lord and Savior: Jesus Christ. He spoke with a singular clarity, with a dimension that should have echoed off canyon walls, that should have seeped through a forest like a misty fog, but instead it spiraled off neon and storefront glass, it sparkled like the shining wrapping paper and glistening bows, it captured me in its tinny fingers and pulled me in. As he spoke some of the other "Children" joined him, so when he asked us to pray we spoke together and the "Our fathers" rang out in a melodious rapture.
Through my one opened eye, I watched passers-by watch us in this strange impromptu prayer. In spite of the stares, in spite of the whispers, in spite of the strange smiles, I felt oddly lighter, more alive. As I said goodbye I seemed to stand above the ground. Leaving the mall and walking back to my car, I realized I became a child again, a child walking in the blissful innocence of some newfound faith.
An ecstatic sunset led me through traffic and safely home, where I remained blissfully converted for exactly twenty-seven minutes, until I discovered a record, (you remember records: the 12" black vinyl discs that spun and played music) hopelessly shattered. With my newfound Christian Dominion, I quietly visited my brother and taught him of the Lord's wonderful vengeance. My hands clasped in prayer, one on each ear, and in the fading light of my devotion, I taught him the fear of God and the dispensation of angels.
As I returned to my room, my feet dragged across the ground and the lightness I had felt, now throbbed painfully in my head. I realized the child in me had gone away, lost in those few moments. It bothered me that I could lose that wonderful feeling so easily, and I realized I didn't fully understand what it was all about, I probably never would understand. I tried to get back to that place, that feeling that I had, but the magic was strangely gone.
Looking back now, I miss what I felt that Christmas so many years ago. I miss the hope, the love and the child I found within myself. I miss the ragged hair and flowered shirts, the bell-bottoms and loose fitting skirts of the "Children of God" or as I called them: the "Jesus Freaks."
I often wonder what happened to them all. I picture them now in boardrooms and bedrooms pronouncing a devotion to greed and sex, praying in spreadsheets and bed sheets, glowing in the fluorescent light and neon glow, forever devoted to more and more: more power, more money, more speed and the elusive multiple O.
And yet, I picture it: when they for just a moment, out of the corner of an eye, from the towers and condos, balconies and planes, from distant vistas, estates and tropical isles, from the very altars of their corporate gods, they see the sun set in a magenta sky and from deep within, their child returns. In suit and tie, designer gowns, and Armani, they become "Jesus Freaks" for a brief, fleeting moment. I think perhaps God smiles then.