Friday, October 14, 2005

Epic Minutia and the God of the Commute

I had ample time to introspect on the way to work this morning.

At 7:56 I pulled the Silver Bullet onto the Mighty Seventeen and joined my metal-shrouded commuting compatriots for the epic journey over the hill.

At 8:20 I was resting at the beautiful Lexington Reservoir, enjoying the view and thinking, "hey, I wonder if my class starts at 9:15 or 9:45" resting in my I-am-so-responsible smugness, after six years of this, I can relax, because its all under control. I glanced at my planner and

HORRORS-- class is scheduled to start at 8:30.

My little, self satisfied world crumbled. I pulled off the freeway and went to DT L.G. to find a payphone (an old friend, I've cancelled classes from you before). I explained to Mrs Parrish (they all go by their formal titles at this particular school) that I was having "travelling issues" no, wait, "I woke up too late" and there was "traffic congestion." But the car is fine.

My next class isn't 'til noon. Ah, a whole, lazy, morning to kill, no, er, use productively.

Suddenly, all pressure was gone. I tooled through the picturesque town (ah, look at the healthy white people, in their little jogging shorts, getting their coffee, getting into their Lexi, with their matching dogs, and passing the Athletic Club, the LG History Club, the Rowing Club, the Rustic Store... time seemed momentarily suspended as I watched the LGans go about their idyllic morning rituals) on the way to the freeway.

While stuck in another snag in another town, I watched the mating dance of a california vulture and a small, private airplane, while listening to KFOG play a sexy song that opened with the words "laying down with an angel." The two were wheeling, banking and soaring in a perfect double helix over the road. I was straining my head over the dashboard of my car, hoping that the flow of cars didn't do anything sudden, as my attention was wholy absorbed by the drama in the sky.

Sometimes it seems like my experince is crafted by an artsy third party. A perfect song on the radio, with a perfectly timed traffic jam, and a magical airshow, involving a wild animal and a human pilot. I wonder what God is trying to say to me. If He is saying anything at all. I think He is, and it can only be summed up in the poetry of that perfect moment.

So, Naba, if you are reading this, now I am ready to think about chapter 18 of Luke. We spoke about how God comes to our world, and how we approach him with the wild joy/humility of a child, a blind beggar, a widow and a tax collector.

Those icons of supplication, arranged in my imagination like four tarot cards on the table. The child, full of irreverent, wide-eyed wonder, a complex mixture of trust, neediness and elan. The blind beggar, who cries to Jesus, and Jesus replies with the waitress-question of "what can I do for you?" The persistent widow, who with her constant requests, eventually gets what she asks for. Finally, my personal favorite, the tax collector, standing in the synegogue, beating his breast, weeping for mercy, for his mistakes, for his disasters. And for all of them, in their wild trust, and naked neediness, standing on the ground (not a holy mountain), in their own stained clothes and messy hair, see God.

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