Blue Like Jazz?

Beautiful writing inspires me, so I collect quotations and excerpts as I read. Recently, I formed a group on Goodreads called “Snippets That Inspire” hoping others would add favorites of their own. The snippet I am sharing today is from “Blue Like Jazz” by Donald Miller:

“One of my new housemates, Stacy, wants to write a story about an astronaut. In his story, the astronaut is wearing a suit that keeps him alive by recycling his fluids. The astronaut is working on a space station when an accident takes place, and he is cast into space to orbit the earth, to spend the rest of his life circling the globe. Stacy says his story is how he imagines hell, a place where a person is completely alone, without others and without God.

After Stacy told me about his story, I kept seeing it in my mind. I thought about it before I went to sleep at night. I imagined myself looking out my little bubble helmet at blue earth, reaching toward it, closing it between my puffy white space suit fingers, wondering if my friends were still there. In my imagination, I would call to them, yell for them, but the sound would only come back loud within my helmet. Through the years, my hair would grow long in my helmet and gather around my forehead and fall across my eyes. Because of my helmet, I would not be able to touch my face to move my hair out of my eyes, so my view of earth, slowly over the first two years, would dim to only a thin light through a curtain of thatch and beard.

I would lay there in bed thinking about Stacy’s story, putting myself out there in the black. And there came a time, in space, when I could not tell whether I was awake or asleep. All my thoughts mingled together because I had no people to remind me what was real and what was not real. I would punch myself in the side to feel pain, and this way I could be relatively sure I was not dreaming. Within ten years, I beginning to breathe heavy through my hair and my beard as they were pressing tough against my face and had begun to curl into my mouth and up my nose. In space, I forgot that I was human. I did not know whether I was a ghost or an apparition or a demon thing.

After I thought about Stacy’s story, I lay there in bed and wanted to be touched… I had the terrifying thought that something like that might happen to me. I thought it was just a terrible story, a painful and ugly story. Stacy had delivered as accurate a description of a hell as could be calculated. And what is sad, what is very sad, is that we are proud people, and because we have sensitive egos and so many of us live our lives in front of our televisions, not having to deal with real people who might hurt us or offend us, we float along on our couches like astronauts, moving aimlessly through the Milky Way, hardly interacting with other human beings at all.

… Jesus does not want us floating through space or sitting in front of our televisions. Jesus wants us interacting, eating together, laughing together, praying together. Loneliness is something that came with the fall. If loving other people is a bit of heaven, then certainly isolation is a bit of hell, and to that degree, here on earth, we decide in which state we would like to live.”

This post is an invitation to my Goodreads Author Page, where (I hope) you will look around, perhaps even leave a snippet in the group under the Community tab. Here’s the link:

My thanks to Wildest Tourism for posting this image!

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