Windshield Time

Windshield time. That’s a pleasant way of talking about a drive across Kansas, or perhaps any driving trip of some distance. Windshield time to think, reflect, dream, vision, remember, pray (with your eyes open), plan, create, process, and really whatever else your mind wants to do in the midst of seemingly unending time. Bud and I decided to drive out to western Kansas and back over the last two days. The weather was good, my folks are back home from Arizona, and someone who shall remain nameless but who is older than me may have had a rather significant birthday that I wanted to surprise and celebrate. I think if you celebrate your birthday every year on March 20 which is the first day of spring, you’re forever young, and new, and full of life!!! Plus, there was cake! Ice. Cream. Cake!!! ‘Nuf said.

Windshield time. I do have a sermon coming up, or several actually, with the whole Palm/Holy Week/Easter Sweeps Week at the church, so I could have been thinking about those, but that really didn’t prove to be a productive train of thought. Maybe because there was too much to see. Western Kansas in late winter seems starkly barren at first glance, but… as the sun rose there were around 8-10 head of deer in a valley just west of highway 283 as I was coming south between Hill City and Wakeeny. If I hadn’t been in a time crunch, I’d have stopped to take some pictures. Here is the best I could do. You can’t see the deer, but it’s still a glimpse of the beauty of the day as it started out there.

Windshield time. There was another shooting in a school, in Baltimore this time. The 17 year old shooter is dead and of the two injured, one is home, the other is still in critical condition. And there was a serial bomber who killed two and wounded four more in the Austin, Texas area in the last three weeks. The sender of the bomb packages was 23 and killed himself as he was about to be captured. Driving across Kansas as the sun comes up makes those incidents seem outside of reality. How are we missing an effective way of teaching our children and one another that there is such beauty in the world, and to destroy it or ourselves is such an unreasonable waste. We must keep trying, even with no clear or simple answers, we must keep trying to find as many ways as possible to span this chasm of empty destruction.

Windshield time. Home. Family. I know, right? Messy and complex and intense and filled with laughter and memories and foundations and identity and struggle and hurts and healings and distances and reconciliations and death and life and life after death. This is from Robert Frost’s Death of the Hired Man:

“…Part of a moon was falling down the west,
Dragging the whole sky with it to the hills.
Its light poured softly in her lap. She saw it
And spread her apron to it. She put out her hand
Among the harp-like morning-glory strings,
Taut with dew from garden bed to eaves,
As if she played unheard some tenderness
That wrought on him beside her in the night.
‘Warren,’ she said, ‘he has come home to die:
You needn’t be afraid he’ll leave you this time.’

‘Home,’ he mocked gently.

‘Yes, what else but home?
It all depends on what you mean by home.
Of course he’s nothing to us, any more
Than was the hound that came a stranger to us
Out of the woods, worn out upon the trail.’

‘Home is the place where, when you have to go there,
They have to take you in.’

‘I should have called it something you somehow haven’t to deserve…’”

In the poem, Silas, the hired man, the one who has come “home” is not related to Mary or Warren, except they have taken him in time and again and he has left them in the lurch time and again right in the midst of haying season and yet… and yet when he has no place to go to take his final rest, he comes to them. They are his home. Maybe we would do well to offer that heart that is home to more of the world than we sometimes are comfortable, even when they disappoint us.

Windshield time. K-State is in the sweet sixteen! An ugly win between two not very good teams, but somebody had to win and the purple is in the sweet sixteen! Watch out Calipari and the Kentucky blue wildcats – there’s a new cinderella and we’re dancing the Wabash Cannonball all the way to Hot-Lanta tomorrow night!!! Wahoooooo! And yes, I will cheer and watch those Jayhawks win on Friday evening as well. I may not wear crimson and blue or do the rock chalk chant, but I’ll don a sunflower in my hair and a Big 12 spirit in my heart!

Windshield time. It’s not a bad idea every now and again, maybe particularly as spring tries to find its way through the last-ditch efforts of winter. In the midst of Farm Market reports and country and western ballads reminders of God’s beauty and the coming week we call holy. The promise of life through struggle, and peace that sometimes must find its way through deep heartbreak. The beauty of a world through a windshield and time that stretches as far as the east is from the west is an unexpected gift on the most unexpected of days. Happy Birthday dear sister, you will always be older than me!!!