I am once again on a plane chasing the sun.
I am listening to Patty Griffin’s ‘Up to the Mountain’ as I stare out the window admiring Gods handiwork as the sun slips slowly under the curvature of our earthy home.
Sometimes when we are flying late at night, most of my team is asleep and I have time to sit quietly and think.
We don’t have enough time anymore just to ponder.
My grandfather used to have one of those old push mowers (remember the old wooden handle and the round blades between the wheels?). When I was really small I can remember seeing him push it, stop and take his hankie out and mop his brow.
What was he thinking? I now ponder.
Later he got himself a riding mower. By then I was old enough to cut the lawn but he never would let me. I always thought he insisted on doing it was because by then grandma had taken the keys of the truck from him (it involved a plate glass window and the front of a Denny’s but that is a different story ).
But, now, I’m convinced he wanted time to think. Time alone, quiet time to ponder.
As I worked the farm on my tractor this past summer, cutting the alfalfa I hypothesized: farmers of the past must have been either 1) the most well balanced people or 2) raging alcoholics.
So much time and so much silence. You had no place to run from your thoughts.
How many of us can really spend time with ourselves and our thoughts? How many of us need music, talk radio or books on tape? Anything except silence and our own internal voice.
A voice that questions, condemns or emboldens with truth.
The sun sinks a little lower and the sky grows from deep orange to dark blue at the horizon and space grows black above.
I turn the music off.
I am in the final phase, I think, of a massive transformation. One that will take me to rough terrain, uncharted landscape and lonely woods. This may end up being the biggest and most important challenge of my life.
Lead by that still small voice always and simply, questioning, condemning and empowering with love and truth. I have challenged myself to let go of my anger and hurt and instead see others pain, need, confusion and hurt.
I want to be a better man. A much better man.
It is hard.
Sometimes it’s too hard, because I hurt or I am tired or honestly, sometimes I just want to be angry.
“I have a right!” I think to myself.
The country I love is washing ashore in bits and pieces. Dashed intentionally on the rocks by fools and knaves. The flames of hate rages. Fires started by those who just want power or money. Only to have the flames fanned by those of us who were sometimes duped, sometimes trusting “our side” and honestly, sometimes too tired, lazy or unwilling to challenge what we WANT to believe because it allows us to escape that condemning voice about the role we played.
I want to be a better man. A better husband, father and friend.
Life moves so fast. So many fires. I try to put one out and three more appear.
“How Lord? Why Lord?” I pray/wrestle. “I want to do what you want me to do, but I am not smart enough to figure out how to get from here to there.”
“Tell me! What do you want me to do! I will do it, but just tell me!”
Deep down, if I am quiet enough, I know He doesn’t work that way.
He doesn’t want the power.
He wants to empower us.
“Figure it out yourself” the voice whispers. “You have all you need. You always have and if you just trust Me completely and take the leap you will see.”
My mind cannot grasp the eternal.
My eyes cannot see what He sees.
He is right.
For all the worry and panic, trouble and white-knuckle events of my life, I have always had everything I really needed and everything worked out in the end.
It will again.
For all of us.
The stars begin to shine brighter, the sound of the air blowing through the cabin. The quiet conversations from the back of the plane and the empowering voice whispers again.
“It is the simple things that makes a man great. The way he treats his wife, his children and those who CANNOT help him advance in his career or goals. It is the simple repeated act of choosing love over anger, peace instead of hate, forgiveness over revenge and courage over comfort.”
“Most of all”, He whispers, “A great man mows his lawn and is eager for the challenge of silence.”
I turn off the light, smile at the thought of my grandpa. I gaze out my window. I am no longer able to make out the curve of the earth.
I close my eyes comfortable with the knowledge that what is coming, just over the horizon, is a new day and everything we need is already being warmed by tomorrow’s sun.