ramblings

21 March 2006

A tale from my youth

when i was younger, 7th or 8th grade or so i think, i had this old radio down in the corner of the basement, right neat those wierd high little windows that were so creepy at night when you would swear there was someone looking in all the time (they can't have been that secure, i dont even know if the locks worked...oh goody...i feel so safe now...).

it had been fished out of the trash, but apparently, from what im about to tell you, it had a great receiver in it. it was the kind with detachable speakers, and well, they were detached, and not there. so i used an old pair of computer speakers and rocked out with the thing. it was summer, so i was down in the basement all the time playing with legos and k'nex. i constantly tried to find a good radio station to listen to, but being the 7th grade version of myself that i was, i pretty much only looked for contemporary christian music stations. well, there were no good ones. so i searched and searched. and then it happened. i heard a tenth of a second of a classic newsboys song playing weak and faint over the airwaves, but i knew i had hit paydirt. i adjusted the dial with ever-so-careful precision, attempting to lock in on the wayward signal. that helped a little. then i tenderley adjusted the antenna, intentley listening for the smallest improvement in sound. that helped a little more. then the idea hit me: i grabbed the lamp (the pole kind with the three adjustable bulbs on it) and moved it over to the radio area. i grabbed the antenna and adjusted it around to rest on the metal lamp pole. wow, that helped a lot! thinking at the speed of light, i ran upstairs and grabbed my mom's role of aluminum foil and dashed back down the stairs. utilizing the specialized techniques of bunny-ear technicians, i carefully wrapped the antenna in foil and attached it to the lamp. suddenly the volume jumped and the dc talk came through loud and clear; yes!
after listening several more songs, most likely audio adrenaline, steven curtis chapman, and michael w. smith, the little jingle for 'the light fm' came on, and i found out the station was broadcasting from somewhere in delaware. i lived in south jersey, and this station all the way from delaware was coming in! wow! its a miracle!

perhaps the most amazing thing was that this old radio, with its makeshift tin-foil antenna and computer speakers, was able to pick up this radio station where the big receiver upstairs connected to the big roof antenna couldnt pick it up, the car couldnt pick it up, and if i moved the radio or the antenna the slightest bit, the signal would disappear. it must have been some sort of fluke, some odd atmospheric condition, because after that summer, i was never able to pick up the station again. however, i will always remember the summer that i lived and breathed the light fm. i would dutifully tune in for the top 20 countdown on sunday nights, listen eagerly for the newest supertones song, and even catch the occasional switchfoot or delirious.

when i think back on it now, i laugh at the cheesy music, but also remember with those warm, fuzzy, nostalgic feelings the joy i felt at that simple pleasure of life. perhaps i was a bit sheltered, but listening to the light fm, i felt connected to a bigger world, as if a minute ray of light were beaming into that dark, silent basement and filling it with light and sound. but the thing that strikes me the most was the precise placement of radio and antenna required to tune in. (yes, here it comes, the cheesy 'reflection-on-life-based-on-childhood-experience-object-lesson...come on, everyone's gotta do it every now and then!) how much is that like my life. if i dont pay close attention to where my 'antenna' is pointing, and precisely watch the position of my dial, all i spit out is static, noise, junk. you get it right? garbage in, garbage out. if im not careful, the dial will shift, the antenna will move, and suddenly my life is out of tune with the life i should be living. of course, the station is the bible, god's word, jesus calling, the godly advice of other christians, etc... and the radio is me. the antenna is my 'attention' or my interests, and the dial...is pretty much the same i guess (hey! i can't always be really clever!).

don't you love how often the little details of some mundane thing of life ends up teaching you a big lesson? its great.

enough said.