I just saw a news blurb: “On this day in 1964, the Beatles released their first album.” Some of you may remember albums. They were large, flat, vinyl discs about twelve or thirteen inches in diameter. We used to put them on turntables, place a needle in the groove, and the stereo produced sound.
I was fourteen years old when this monumental event occurred. The sound my stereo made when I played this particular album consumed me for the next several years. I was an immediate Beatle fan. I loved their sound, their music, and just about everything else about them.
“I still get a kick out of listening…”
As I look back, it’s seems pretty obvious that they were gods to me. They could do no wrong. Their music was perfect and their philosophy impeccable. That was fifty-three years ago.
I still get a kick out of listening to some of their music, even now. From my new perspective, however, it turns out they were less than perfect. A lot of what they did was wrong, and their philosophy (pick whichever one you wish) less than desirable. They certainly weren’t gods.
Much of what I experienced back then was the emanation of an immature, fourteen year old brain, immersed in the culture of my day. My gods at that time were musicians and baseball players. If I could only be like any one of them, my life would be ideal. At least that’s what I thought.
I spent considerable hours trying to make that happen. When I wasn’t playing baseball, I was playing music. There were times as a teenager I would leave my position playing center field for the local Legion team, take a shower, and head off to a gig my band was playing that evening. I was in Heaven (albeit a Heaven on earth).
Reality soon set in, however. I discovered the hard way that I was never going to play for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Even worse, I was never going to star in a successful rock and roll group. Life can be cruel.
“I have struck out…”
Somehow, I muddled through these past few decades without the glitter of stardom showering me. No aura of fanfare and heroism has surrounded my existence. I have struck out in sports and hit a sour note in music. Oh to be able to relive the glory days of my youth.
I look back on those days with fondness and a little nostalgia. Still, I’m glad they’re gone. I have answered the calling that was placed upon me, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I still love a good baseball game and am thrilled by great music. There’s nothing so sweet, however, as the Good News of Jesus to my ears.
Jesus once said that life was more than baseball and music—or something to that effect. (Matthew 6:25) As it turns out, he was right. The gods of 1964 still live in my memory, but the Lord of the universe has taken their place in my heart.
[Dave Zuchelli is a graduate of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and is currently the pastor of Smith Chapel, in Great Falls, VA.]