Monday, May 15, 2006
Keeping Things Going
"I sit a moment looking at him as he stares out the window. He is already on the mental road home, and already mentally retired. Just waiting for that last load assignment, and his gold watch. I look at him carefully, and I know he has the answer to every driving question I have.
"There is a wealth of information in this man, if I can just get to it. I don't know how to do that, so I just ask him straight out, if he had one piece of advice to give, and only one, what would it be. He looks at me again, pauses, and says he has never had a wreck, never laid one over, never went [sic] off the road, that he never even scratched a fender. I look at him absolutely amazed. He is telling the truth. To have such a record is phenomenal. Virtually impossible. He is referencing probably two-and-a-half, maybe three million highway miles in all kinds of weather, dozens of thousands of backings, tens of thousands of parking lots, and innumerable opportunities to wrinkle a truck. But I see in his countenance that he is not lying. He did it. I ask him how.
"It was another answer he thought out years ago. He looks up and says, 'You just have to care...' and I am suddenly aware I have been given the key. The key to lots of things. He is right. You do just have to care. And that is really the deciding factor in getting anything right. Caring that it is done, and done properly. The man said you just have to care."
Caring is dangerous. Jesus cared, and got killed. People die for caring all the time, either outright or a little bit at a time as those around sense the tenderness and nip in like piranhas to cut the other down to their level. If it's anything Satan wants to keep out of our world, it's caring. Fortunately, the human heart really is very robust and we've resisted the slide into complete barbarity, but a little more gets taken away each year as resources dwindle and numbers increase. We rub shoulders, ever more irritated.
One way to handle the friction is to quit caring. Too many bosses demanding too much, and I throw up my hands and I say I don't care. And I die a little bit more. I learned this trick years ago: if I don't care, I can't be hurt.
Oddly enough it has become a real problem since I started following Jesus with more survival-motivated dedication. He has stripped off some layers of armor. My response has been to fall back on my time-tested survival techniques, of which the major one is not caring. Naturally my work suffers, my life suffers, I suffer... but I'm used to suffering so what's another day, month, year of it? No big deal.
God, however, is the first person I've met who can outwait me. He continues to press in the direction of caring, and I learn the complexities of life.
Those of you who are parents... please let your children care about things. Teach them how to be strong in caring. Of course, this means you'll have to learn it yourselves, but the next generation is going to be very challenged and only caring will get them through.
Those of you who are following Jesus... ask him to teach you how to help others care. This has nothing to do with rote prayers and church services, and everything to do with knowing God's Spirit.