Sometimes You Get the Church Sign You Need
Perhaps it’s because the signs belong to a religious institution, but I always think that G-d speaks to me via church signs since burning bushes release dangerous levels of carbon dioxide. I assume G-d wasn’t thinking about the potential greenhouse gases that would be released into the atmosphere when he spoke to Moses, causing global warming. But now he’s given it some thought and realized that church signs are much more environmentally-friendly way to communicate with individuals.
Anyway, I read church signs as I pass, and while the vast majority don’t seem applicable to my life, and they must be meant for someone else…
“Use sonscreen to prevent sinburn.”
…this one spoke to me.
It wasn’t really on the Beulah Cumberland Presbyterian Church. It was on a church that I pass on the way to my parent’s house. But that church is on an inconvenient curve in the road, and I wasn’t about to pull into the parking lot just to take a photo. So I made that on a church sign generator. Which, I know, feels like cheating. But the point is the message. Isn’t that a smart message?
“Tough times never last, but tough people do.”
As I drove I thought, “I could be a tough person.” I mean, I’m not a particularly tough person now, but I could make a point to become one since it is true that — if personal history is correct — tough times don’t last. I could keep that in mind and pace myself. I could choose toughness.
I came home and recited it to Josh, who finished saying it aloud with me after the comma.
“Oh!” I said. “You saw the same sign?”
“No, Melissa, that is just a familiar cliche.”
“I found it helpful. It gave me a new perspective on life.”
I felt defensive about my church sign.
I decided to Google the saying and discovered it was a popular platitude, attributed to Robert H. Schuller. Who was Robert H. Schuller, I wondered. He was a televangelist who ran a program called the Hour of Power.
My first thought was the lyrics to Frank Zappa’s “Bobby Brown Goes Down.” Didn’t he say he could last an hour… power… So then I needed to Google that song, which actually is a Tower of Power and not an Hour of Power. (“I can take about an hour on the tower of power / As long as I get a little golden shower”)
And that reminded me of a harrowing drive I made between Milan and Venice in the backseat of a friend’s car as he drove over 100 mph, and I had to translate and explain an entire cassette of Frank Zappa songs for him. (“But, Melissa, what is a golden shower?”) I was gritting my teeth, my entire body tense as his tiny car rattled over the highway, thinking, “dear G-d, dear G-d, let me get to Venice in one piece.” And that didn’t last, you know. That tough car ride had an end point when we arrived at a long-term parking lot so we could take a boat the rest of the way into the city.
See, I was tough.
Which brings me back full circle to the fact that sometimes you get the church sign you need.