Jesus in the Backseat
I was turning 40 years old and my marriage was coming apart. The people and things and ideals I’d hung my hat of certainty on for most of my life were floating away like embers igniting the dark winds of a tomorrow I could no longer perceive. I needed something that felt like salvation. I needed something, or someone I could touch, that felt comforting, and real. I needed to cast a new Jesus into the backseat of the car in which I was no longer driving, but had become a passenger, not even holding the position of “shotgun.”
One night, I found myself in an actual backseat, with an actual person, who was not my wife, or even my lover. In the dark, and swollen moments of that car ride, I projected upon her a resumptive need to love and be loved. I wanted someone to offer a hand, maybe a kiss, that would move through my body like a current of salvation. I invoked some ancient magic and tried to conjure my own Jesus; my own salvation out of thin air and need.
I can’t do that.
The car ride ended. My marriage failed. My life changed. I had to step out of that backseat, and take the wheel again.
Ultimately, I realized that I had been driving all along, and in my way, always holding the position of “shotgun,” and always and forever, I have to be both passengers in the backseat.
Jesus in the Backseat is a song about a fantasy. It’s a myth I created out of a night filled with loneliness and a kind of despair I never care to feel again. The myth served me well, and allowed me the space to resurrect what needed to live, and to burn what had to be left behind.
Thank you, Jesus.