Monday, February 8, 2010

Not So Large, A Spectrum

In my weekly travels east and west along I-70, the most traveled portion of highway in the country, a lot of thinking takes place. No matter the predetermined distraction, the distance between the mile-markers of 100 and 20 has become a place for the tying up of loose ends, and for the creating of new ones. On this particular evening I got an early start. The sun sat high behind the clouds, and I for once thought I may have a dry trip home, and in my excitement I turned the stereo up. I have been shuffling through my favorite cd's from my college years lately (you tell me what that means), trying to work my way chronologically from my first year at Southwest Missouri State. [On a side note, I am finding more and more that, much like the school I went to my freshman year no longer exists after the name switch to Missouri State, my musical choices also should probably no longer exist as relevant options for my 23 year old ears.] But as the ruminations of a post-teen angst turned hyper -spiritually torn Brand New exalt themselves in my tiny Volkswagon's insides, those magical eighty miles quickly approached. And be it supernatural intervention or my failure to really anticipate the weather, around mile marker 99 the clouds darkened and the sun fell from the sky. In no more than ten minutes the sky was black and half-frozen rain danced hauntingly in my headlights.

Now, I should say I have this oddity about me (well, one of perhaps many). In inclement weather, I turn my radio off; and it's not so much for safety reasons as for my fear of what cliché song might be pouring from my wrecked speakers as the paramedics helplessly stand aside my crunched up sedan. It is an awfully egotistical practice, and yet it has become such a thing that it seems the one time I may choose to end the silliness would surely be the day God received me to Chris Carrabba crying, "Again I Go Unnoticed," or something like that.

So needless to say at this point, I turned the radio down just in time to learn something from that same old painful stretch of mediocre highway. This, after so too many words, is where I reach my point, and my hopes are that this preliminary thought turns into a larger series of thoughts on the matter. As I drove up and over and down again the easy slopes of western Missouri, the unsure rain/snow started doing strange things. One minute my windshield would be showered with dirty rainwater from the butt-end of an 18-wheeler, my eyes squinted beyond comfort to find the edges of the road. I would struggle around them, wincing over the roar of the perforated edge of the road. But as I passed a moment later, atop a long incline, the spray from the truck's tires would fade and I would find myself looking down on the most beautiful mosaic of streetlights, stars, and glistening pavement. It was the warmest natural glow, peering in at me from the frigid, lifeless night. In an instant, a matter of seconds, the world transformed in from of me. "It's really pretty," I whispered to Kelsey as the noise faded, and she nodded in agreement. The next truck was already approaching, however and just like any great battle, these flashing elements of serenity and fright, of excitement and frustration would go on trading equal blows for the rest of our drive. It's just as my good friend Matt has come to so patiently learn; it is in these fleeting moments of filthy-turned-beautiful that the God of the universe speaks to us. And so often what I believe He is proclaiming is that this spectrum of good and bad, of life and death, isn't as divided as you and I think. And as my windshield wiper blades shove aside the muddy water to reveal the wonder of a rain-soaked earth, the story of the gospel is told, and I can't help but agree.

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