Heaven is whenever

I picked up some Elvis records last week. This morning, I’m listening to them for the first time. They’re pretty cool. His voice is almost like another instrument, and the way it was recorded makes it seem like that’s what they were going for. Maybe they were? I don’t know. I’ve never taken the time for Elvis until now, but I consider it a solid few bucks spent. 

Anywho. Also last week, I was in a terrific car accident. I was driving on an interstate, and was cut off by some dude in what looked to be a faded red 1992 Toyota sports car targeted at womenses. I swerved left to avoid this fellow, thinking, “He sees me, right? I mean, he definitely sees me.” At one point, we even made eye contact. So I’m pretty sure he saw me. 

After swerving left, I swerved to the right to avoid slamming into the median. I caught gravel though, and couldn’t regain traction. The car did a 180 over three lanes and the rear plowed square into a tree. 

The car is very totaled. I walked out without a scratch. No one else was hurt, or even had to swerve or brake to avoid me. The other guy kept going. I don’t know if he ever looked back. People stopped right away and called 911. It was essentially a scene out of a Jason Statham movie. 

My brother picked me up, and when we got home the first thing I did was sit behind my computer and put on Heaven is Whenever from The Hold Steady. I’d just gotten it the day before, and had only given it a cursory listen. I had it years ago, but I assume the copy I had was crap, because it sounded like garbage and that record does not sound like garbage. 

It was an interesting moment. As the album played, “We Can Get Together” came on, which holds the line for the album name. I don’t want to spend time trying to explain it. Just hear it, and find out for yourself. 

I walked around for a long time thinking I had to wait for moments or time or sense to come. In some instances, it’s unavoidable, but in most it’s a mere excuse for inaction. For the most part, I stopped thinking I had to wait around for things to happen in the last year or two. But the accident elevated the thought.

The further I get from it, the more I think I shouldn’t have been able to walk away from my car. I don’t think divine intervention is what stopped another car from driving through me, or my neck snapping on impact, or what spun the car just right to absorb more than 98% of the impact, or any of the million other things that could’ve happened. But one thing is for sure: heaven might be a goal, but it’s not an end game, and it’s not something we need to wait around for. No – it’s something right in front of us, all around us, pretty much all the time. Heaven is whenever. 

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