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The Far Side of Heaven

 

The Far Side of Heaven

Mac would fit in great with the Parrot Island Band

Mac McAnally (of the Coral Reefer Band) has written many great songs but one of my favorites is The Far Side of Heaven. Mac apparently had an ex (and her boyfriend) in mind when he wrote this song. Although I can usually find anything on the Internet, I can’t find the words to this song anywhere.  Fortunately, I do have this song on my iPhone and the chorus goes like this:

On the far side of heaven, a long way from me

If I said, “go to Hell” I was only angry

Cause I pray every day when the time comes you’ll be…

On the far side of heaven

On the far side of heaven, a long way from me

This song can be found on Mac’s CD Semi True Stories and it has some other great songs on it as well. While the Bible tells us to turn the other cheek (Matthew 5:39) and forgive up to seventy-seven times (Matthew 18:21-23), sometimes that seems a Hard Way to Go.

There are many, when faced with betrayal, who says they would have to be The Last Man Standing before finding the ability to forgive. To hold on to anger and bitterness only seems to hurt the one holding onto these feelings. I love that Mac acknowledges his hurt in this song but also doesn’t hold on to the hurt of the broken relationship (and become bitter in the process).

When our feelings towards someone are The Opposite of Love, it is easy to close the door to loving someone new. Instead of resisting a new relationship, there comes a time when it is good to say “Come On In If You’re Coming”.

Meanwhile, When Trouble Comes Around in any form… a broken relationship or just trying to find our way Home Again… it is good to have a sense of humor. I wonder if Mac wrote his song Stephon, the Alternative Lifestyle Reindeer during the same time he wrote The Far Side of Heaven? I know that when I am under stress, I have written some songs that make me laugh and help me keep perspective.

Bry from Parrot Island Band was a little too excited for this pic

(I was a little too excited for this picture… how about a retake Mac?)

As part of the Parrot Island Band, (a Jimmy Buffett Tribute Band from Atlanta, Georgia) I often hear people comment that our music helps them escape the stress of what they are going through. While I have only met Mac McAnally (3 time CMA musician of the year) in passing (after one of his concerts here in Atlanta), I can attest to his music’s relaxing (and inspiring qualities). I have already gone on record that I would love to play a few songs with Jimmy Buffett. I hope that if/when this happens, Mac will be around and join in with us as well.

 

It’s My Job

 

It's My Job

So Let's Make the Best of It

Let’s face it, some days it is really hard to get out of bed and go to work. Even as a pastor, I have days when I would like to pack my bags and run, or maybe sail away. I remember one night in particular when I was on my way home from a very long (unpleasant) meeting and I found myself humming a song. When I got home, I pulled out my guitar and a piece of paper and wrote my song, “See Ya Later, I’m Gone”. When we play this song at our gigs, we usually see heads nodding and a smile that seems to say, “yes, I feel that way sometimes too”.

One of my favorite Jimmy Buffett songs is a song that band member Mac MacAnally wrote called, “It’s My Job.” The song tells of an encounter street sweeper listenin to Parrot Island Band tuneswith a street sweeper who was whistling and bouncing along as he carried out what many would see as a “menial” job. Asked how he could be so happy to be doing this kind of work, the street sweeper said it was his job,

 

 

“to be cleaning up this mess
And that's enough reason to go for me
It's my job to be better than the rest
And that makes the day for me"

The next encounter was with the writer’s uncle who was a banker and self-made millionaire. Asked why he seemed so sad, the banker said,

“it's because in my contract there's a clause
That says "It's my job to worried half to death
And that's the thing people respect in me
It's my job but without it I'd be less
Than what I expect from me"

How do we find meaning in our work and embrace the attitude of the street sweeper?  In part, it is in finding work that we love, but it is also important to love the work that we find ourselves doing. Even the best jobs have their downsides and as we see, there are jobs that would drive us crazy that others seem to love!  Our faith can enhance our work when we follow the encouragement found in the Bible,

17And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Colossians 3:17

One of the ways I have found to keep my perspective on work fresh is having another outlet. As part of the Parrot Island Band: a Jimmy Buffett tribute band from Atlanta, Georgia… I have found a way of getting away from the stress sometimes associated with my "day job". The Trop Rock music that we play, write and listen to is a great way to enjoy each day and look forward to the next.

Until next time… it's Jesus and Jimmy.