A NEW CONVERSION: “Nobody Else”August 3, 2010 at 3:04 pm
“Nobody Else Like Him” became about as much a ‘Living Waters’ song as any. We used to call it “Nobody Else Like JIM” after Jim Babish, because that is true after all! Ha! But, seriously, it also represented a new day for me and the group.
The whole Oblate community experience ended around 1980. I left bitter, confused and feeling betrayed by some things and, I’m sad to say, I lost my way for a while. You wouldn’t think such a thing would happen after all of the things I had seen and experienced, including some miracles, but I’ll take the blame for ‘losing faith’. It wasn’t that I didn’t believe anymore, it was just that the other stuff was drowning out a real living of it. I didn’t ‘turn away’; I was just inconsistent. I needed a ‘new conversion’ in attitude.
It was later in 1981 that I wrote “Nobody Else Like Him” and it was part of a rediscovery of purpose. I had a flash of HOPE, the kind of hope that can’t be stopped. It dawned on me that Living Waters didn’t need to be affected, that it could go on, because our God is a God of second chances and he makes use of people and circumstances that might not seem ideal. Some of the most beautiful things can spring from a heavily manured area! And no one person or place should be the basis of our faith. JESUS is the basis of our faith! Eventually, I personally began to catch up to that insight. As for the group, we had re-located to St. Linus for a short time and eventually we did make a wonderful new start in so many ways as well.
At some point I realized it wasn’t fair to stay at St. Linus as kind as they had been. We had to find our own place. I personally did the scouting. Eventually, it came to my attention that the Marists didn’t seem to be using the house they had across the street. Why not approach them? They accepted the proposal – maybe it didn’t hurt that my distant Lajoie cousins from Van Buren, Maine were in the order, especially my friend, Vocation Director, Roland Lajoie! (I had met him when I was considering a vocation at that time.)
The entire group embraced the opportunity, descended on the house and did all kinds of work to facilitate our stay and to reward the Marists for their faith in us. 505 Pleasant Street became a wonderful home base with our instruments in the basement and some of us in community in the house. In “Nobody Else”, I had written “then he brought us all together both the choosers and the beggars”. Here was our chance to share and support our faith and strengthen each other’s resolve, which was the exact vision the song was offering and what I and several of us had lacked after 1980.
The song itself became THE way we ended our show for MANY years thereafter. This was the song we had everyone stand and clap, quieting down for that lead in the middle. I think it expressed OUR ‘new conversion’ as a group when we decided we did have a future and a purpose. When we recorded this on multi-track at 505 with two other songs, it was like magic. Greg shone in particular. Mike Mc Bride did play this with us but after he left, we were searching for a less keyboard-dependant identity and Greg proved we could do it, and how! And when we re-added Mike again at the Reunion Show in 1995, it was even more incredible!
The theme of the song is the famous conundrum of C.S. Lewis. Some people would like to relegate Jesus to a safe corner as simply being a “nice man”, but Lewis pointed out that his obvious claims to be the Messiah render that impossible. Either He was a Liar, a Lunatic, or he is Lord as He claims. He will not let you compartmentalize Him. You hear that in one of the verses.
Enjoy this: it’s not just a song it’s a life statement!