Andrew is finally in the finishing stages of his book The Man with Blue Sky in His Glasses. Before the release date we wanted to give everyone a sneak peak. Enjoy!
– PREFACE –
It was a spring day so beautiful it almost hurt. In fact, it did. The dogwoods were in full bloom, exams were over and I walked under the blue sky on the campus of the University of Virginia, totally depressed. The white columns were bright as shirts. The spring grass and the robins singing sweetened the lawn. Outside everything was stunningly beautiful. Inside, it was acidic and grey, and the contrast seemed cruel. I was twisted with insecurity, heartbreaks, drugs and a barb-wired sadness tight around my heart. If I had had a clear reason for this sadness, it would have been easier, but I didn’t. I was young and healthy with a bright future but depression had settled like fog. I was a danger to myself; statistics show that the most likely person to kill you is you.
And then I saw him on the other side of the street. Though he was almost fifty, his beard was still black. He was squinting through glasses that were glazed with the blue sky. He seemed content standing in front of his little church, with his arms crossed and his head tilted as if to listen. I knew he was the pastor but wanted nothing to do with him: I had discarded Christianity. How could any thinking person simply accept the religion of his parents or culture? I had majored in Comparative Religions, searching for a trace of God running through all beliefs. I looked for a trace of God in the professors’ faces. Though I was searching, I resented anyone who said they had found anything. I believed this man smug in his Christianity certainly could not bring any real answers or comfort to my raw heart. Yet, he was enjoying the beautiful day and the day’s beauty seemed to be inside him, and the whole blue sky seemed to be in his glasses. I almost crossed the street to ask him about life, but he saw me looking at him and smiled and I pressed on as if in a blizzard, in the midst of dogwood flowers and sunlight.
I wonder what he would have told me if I had crossed the street. What would he tell me about God? Four years later, Jesus Christ hounded me and captured my heart in the desert of Arizona. To say I became a Christian is to say He suddenly became the center of my life. I could have heard about this by crossing the street. Somehow I knew this man would not disdain my questions, unlike my professor of Buddhism. He would not roll his eyes as my pot partners would do when I asked the big questions about life. Somehow I knew this man was linked to the kindness of Christ, but I did not cross over. How could the God of creation abide in a little man with his arms folded and his glasses flaming with the blue of heaven? What would he have told me?
This book is like the man standing on the other side of the street. After years of having a “lover’s quarrel” with Jesus, and being broken, busted and forgiven, the beauty of the day is finally on the inside of me, too. I will tell you how I have experienced about God and what I wish I would have known years ago. I will tell you what I don’t know because I don’t “have Him” anymore than the open sails have the wind. I wished I had crossed the street that day. I tracked down the man with sky in his glasses 40 years later. It was an interesting conversation; I will that save for the end. For now, forty years the blue of heaven has invaded my life, but how could I talk about it without sounding religious or nuts? I read that non-fiction and religious books lead the Kindle sales, but they are very separate categories because non-fiction implies no nonsense and non-miraculous. In this serious non-fiction section, don’t expect God to break and enter the mundane daily-ness of life. On the other hand, I recoil from the word religious because it suggests the boringly predictable. So, that leaves me to write irreligious nonfiction? Rather, I would like to suggest a new category for Kindle-miraculous reality. I have seen cracks in the boring routine of reality. There is light brighter than the sun. There is a quiet voice louder than the constant noise of cities. There is a joy underneath the heaviest sorrows. There are people who smell like heaven. And there is a God who well able and willing to break into our life.
Two years ago, I went to the bookstore to find a book that had nothing to do with Christianity. I needed a break from church stuff. I bought the biography of Louie Zamperini, Unbroken, and was really enjoying the exciting story of his plane being shot down and his survival on the raft fighting off sharks and dodging Japanese zeros. Suddenly, on the raft, Louie looks into the heavens and sees thousands of angels singing in the heavens. I didn’t see that coming. And how God has invaded my life, I did not see coming.
– Andrew McMillan