Nothing Else Mattered

The night of April 4, 1999 was oppressive. Sin was in the air and it mixed with the humidity to press down like a weight upon my chest. There was no sleep to be gained that evening. The thudding music from nearby fraternity parties reverberated off the walls. My mind raced as I pondered what must be going on at the bacchanalia outside of my walls. In the darkness, man pursued his selfish lusts and desires and I could only shiver at the thought.

It didn’t take long for the oppression to cover me and infiltrate me. The evil around me was no different than that which clung to me. My own life was as dark and unwelcome as the stench from the street. Unforgiveness, pride, desire, greed, “the American dream.” All of it replaced the air in my lungs and I wheezed, begging for oxygen to return to my body. And so I lay there in bed, sweating and wondering when the morning would come, but it continued to evade me.

Finally, at 3:30AM I could stand it no longer and took a shower and got dressed. You see, there was more to this night than just the evil laying his iron grip upon the hearts of young college men and women. I got in my car and drove out to Stone Mountain to make a familiar climb. There, in the early morning darkness I ascended to the top and as I cleared the summit, a lone cross shone in the night air, lit up like a Christmas tree. It meant everything to me, almost driving me to my knees. (I wonder if that’s how the disciples felt when they saw a cross, but the man wasn’t there anymore.) Suddenly, amazingly, the world was left behind at the base of the mountain and NOTHING ELSE MATTERED.

The sun slowly rose and there, a reminder of what has already been done filled the crowd. All of that sin has been crushed, it has no power anymore. I closed my eyes, and when I opened them again, we all stood in daylight, none of the night had clung to me. Christ is risen today.

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1:5)

Whew, well it’s been some exciting times hasn’t it? I’ve survived another quarter of school and I’m ready to make my assault on the last, the LAST quarter of Georgia Tech. Winter had its lumps, but I’m intact and amazingly enough so are my friends. “Introduction to Computing” sure has gotten a lot harder than I remember it! Nonetheless, my friends made it through okay, even if I did spend many a very late night explaining over and over linked lists and the subtlety of object-oriented programming. You know, the stuff I get paid to do.

However, Winter is busting at the seams with memories. It will be hard to forget that weekend in Chattanooga with my friends. Running around Lookout Mountain, walking with Adriene down the downtown streets to the last formal dance from my fraternity. We truly couldn’t have chosen a better location for a last dance, the significance of Chattanooga already stamped on my life. Memories, and more memories from a beautiful town.

Oh yeah, and Adriene survived “Introduction to Computing”, too. Lots of late nights poring over a computer. Not exactly the stuff of romances, but I guess that’s what love is about.

During the break, I logged another 1500 miles (14 of those on foot through the Appalachian mountains!) A terrific opportunity to re-visit the tropical South of Florida and marvel and amaze at the sights. It’s a different world down there and it’s hard to believe that I used to run with it not too long ago. A chance to see old friends and see what new things have cropped up in their lives. (Ever notice I have a tendency to write sentences without real verbs?) My good friend Adriene and I re-visited the haunts of days gone by and I got to see everything for the first time through her. The trip was also a chance to go to yet another wedding in beautiful Naples. Seems everyone is getting married these days. Maybe, with a little of God’s grace, my number will get called someday, too. I’m starting to get a good idea who I want to stare down that date with, but that date is for another date. Until then, hold on to the slippery grip of youth…

(And to think, I was going to write a long discourse about idols, putting heroes on pedestals, and disappointment. And you thought this was a long-winded affair already. And I think I’ll save it for when the sun is at its highest point in the sky.)

Jeff Holland – 4/6/99