EL SHADDAI. Just two words, but no two words have ever been uttered that carry the same weight or gravity since mankind learned to speak. But what is El Shaddai? What does it mean? These are pertinent questions, however one does not simply “define” El Shaddai. To think El Shaddai can be confined to any single definition is ignorant, and the ultimate act of mankind’s hubris. One must necessarily take caution, then, when attempting to explain all that is El Shaddai.
The great religious scholar Amy Grant first brought “El Shaddai” to popularity with her 1982 hit of the same name. Though the song released to mixed reviews it was a great commercial success, particularly among the Hebrew and Quaker communities. It was very popular in religious circles mainly due to the fact that Dr. Grant used the ancient Hebrew definition of El Shaddai, loosely translated as “Almighty God”. Though this definition has long been widely accepted, it is not necessarily true. I have found that this is, in fact, not what El Shaddai means. What, then, does it mean? Trying to pin El Shaddai down is often like trying to capture a piece of the atmosphere in the palm of your hand. It does have meaning, but it is also more than that.
My first true experience with El Shaddai was in an action/adventure game made by UTV Ignition Games named El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron. I had heard a little about this game before I bought it and went into it with moderately low hopes. I could not have been more wrong. IMMEDIATELY upon inserting this disc into my XBOX 360 I knew I had acquired something truly special. There were no updates. It was a perfect game. From that first, seemingly simple, snap of Lucifel’s finger I knew my life would never be the same. El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron continued, throughout it’s 11 chapters, to render me speechless and an undeniably changed man. I had heard the Amy Grant song before but I instantly knew that THIS, the incredible god-like magic unfolding before my eyes, was the one and only true meaning of El Shaddai. At times I was frustrated – but I defy you to name a single life-changing event that came to you without certain challenges. Amazingly, even after all this, I find it difficult to put into words the feelings and emotions I experienced. How does one define such an experience? An experience ripped so deeply from the soul like El Shaddai?
Maybe it is that El Shaddai cannot be defined through words alone. Perhaps, then, El Shaddai can better be explained as a feeling or an emotion. As a vision buried deep within one’s self. The moment you truly realize you are alive. Yes. El Shaddai is all of these things, yet so much more. El Shaddai is that feeling in your gut of knowing you are lost in Detroit, while your friends have forsaken you in favor of burgers at Red Coat Tavern. It is the undeniable joy of viewing 2 gigantic breasts for the majority of an In Flames show. It is the pride you feel in a friend who makes the sacrifice of sitting in the 4-inch space in the back of a Chrysler Pacifica, as well as the shame of walking into an all-black Friday’s 15 minutes before closing. Are you beginning to see the magic of El Shaddai? It’s true power? El Shaddai is unstoppable. El Shaddai is the sensation of watching the intolerable Tim Teaboat get demolished by Tom Brady while a fat girl, who I would totally bang, parades around naked in a sushi restaurant next to the Buffalo Wild Wings you are in.
“What else can El Shaddai possibly be”, you ask. “Surely that must be all”, you say. It is not. El Shaddai is waking up at 4:00 AM douched in your own sweat due to the fact that the room you are sleeping in is °85 F because some ridiculous asshole decided to fill a bathtub with volcanic hot water. It is the thrill of discovery when you find a love letter hidden behind a headboard – containing the raw emotions of lustful black children in love. El Shaddai is the sheer ecstasy of violently pressing yourself against an air mattress until you reach completion while a friend, who is completely unaware, sleeps mere inches away. It is teabagging a man in the night, causing him to awaken screaming “OH MY GOD.” There is simply no end to what El Shaddai means or the incredible power it holds.
At no point during this writing did I once feel that I would adequately explain or define El Shaddai. I simply hoped to paint a better picture for the reader, to maybe provide that one glimpse into the world of El Shaddai that might spark the flame of understanding. It is the single most powerful force known to mankind. It has the power to make a car full of drunk, adult, middle class, white males giggle like school children. Obviously, to develop El Shaddai’s true power would be cataclysmic. It is visiting 4 GameStops in one day. It is grass jelly drink. It is Gina fucking Carano. It is Smell Bottom XXX. It is everything.
P.S. God damn do I love Gina Carano. And I’m not very drunk probably.