Friday, July 29, 2005


A Lot More Bottom

I'll put up a pile of sand and start carving. As the sculpture becomes more hollow, sand falls from my tools and builds up around the base. If the piece is really singing I'll forget about everything else, just carving madly away, and terminating the spaces where the ground is. Later on, I'll finally realize that I'm not at the bottom.

Life is rather like driving across Texas: lots of identical miles. What's the point in continuing the trip? Nothing changes, the route is cast in concrete, it all looks the same.

God seems to think there is a point in going on but I still haven't learned what it is. I hold his hand because he's the only hope I have of ever looking forward to living.

The first bricks go on the bottom. It just turns out that there's a whole lot more bottom in this life than I thought. If you want a good top, you need a good bottom, and that seems to be what God is concentrating on in my life: finding the bottom. It feels a lot like free-fall to me, digging for the bottom, trying to find it inside that pile of waste sand.

It seems that God wants me to know the reason for going on with this long, hot drive. I've just been holding his hand and staring off into dreamland while rolling along on a journey of no real goal other than following Jesus. I don't know. Maybe that's good enough, but I get hints every now and then that God wants me to have a dream.

Dreams? Forget it. Too expensive. As soon as one gets started, something comes along to knock it down. Go day-by-day, and when the tide comes in only one day's work disappears.

The chances of actually accomplishing a dream are slight. Not quite zero, but near, at least from my point of view. I'm thoroughly jaundiced. Cynical. Some people dream and do great things. Some people dream and get shot or crucified.

And dreams require some fight. You can't just roll over as I've learned to do.

It's interesting that I'm getting noticed more than used to be the case. I used to slip through life. If a conflict, or even a potential conflict, came up I'd duck and sidestep to keep my heart rate down. Conflict leaves unpleasant memories. Yesterday on the bus, though, I got on and wanted to talk to the driver so I sat in one of the front seats, next to an obvious hard case who was taking a seat and half of the next. Normally I'd have just gone looking for another seat. I sat down this time, and he started telling me what he was going to do to me if I touched him one more time. I told him to move and went back to talking with the driver. The other passenger continued to remonstrate and I ignored him.

Another seat became available and he moved. He continued to curse me and grumble. When another passenger sat next to me he started to tell her all the things that were wrong with me. So, I turned to him, told him I'd been vilified by guys lots better at it than he, and then I laughed in his face. I was just pretty well sick of the whole thing.

After I got off the bus I wondered where all of that came from. Granted, I'm angry about some things, and frustrated, but why stand up? What would Jesus have done? Something much different, I'm sure.

I think it has to do with finding the bottom and building new things on it. It takes time to learn how to live. I've been dead for so long that returning life is confusing, and takes odd forms. It actually felt pretty good to call that guy's bluff and send him packing. Rude people shouldn't be allowed to run the world. I'm sick of them.

Jesus loves them. I haven't gotten that far yet.

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