Monday, September 14, 2009

after my heart

"Paul left New Orleans and made it, on his own, as far as Houston, which is where he ran out of money. He got a job at an oil refinery, walking along the top of tanker cars, checking valves to make sure they were closed securely, climbing the ladders of vertical pipe at the end of the evening to look out over the landscape of smokestacks and yellow light, to breathe the sulfur and salt and humidity as a way of noting its human beauty, but all this was done in a longing for his home, the way a man will hold the woman he has while thinking of the woman he loves."

"Charles Dickens tells us every heart is a profound mystery to the heart beating nearest it, and I am starting to understand him. Watching the dark towns pass gives them a new significance. During the day the roads are clustered with cars at stoplights, but tonight the thick, dark lines simply separate one neighborhood from another, one socioeconomic group from the one it once was. And it is odd for me to consider the thousands of sleeping people, quiet in their homes, their clocks ticking on the walls, the dogs breathing at the feet of their masters' beds, and to realize there are six billion people living in six billion settings. These homes house families we dont know. So many sleeping people, all of them spirit, bound by flesh, held up by bone and trapped in time."

"I confess I wanted to believe life was bigger, larger than my presuppositions. Out there under the cosmos, out in the desert of Texas, beneath those billion stars and the umbrella of pitch-black eons of nothingness, on top of that hill, I started wondering if life was something different than I thought it was, if there was some kind of raging beauty a person could find, that he could get caught up in the why of life. And I needed to believe beauty meant something, and I needed God to step off His self-help soapbox and be willing to say something eternally significant and intelligent and meaningful, more meaningful than the parroted lines from detergent commercials. I needed God to be larger than our free-market economy, larger than our two-for-one coupons, larger than our religious ideas... The temperature has dropped and a layer of moisture soaks the ground. Brainless june bugs make loud, fast dives at a light on the wall of the rest area. One broken-winged bug struggles on the sidewalk. I squash him under my boot and say softly, as if to myself, "All your questions are now answered."

-Donald Miller, "Through Painted Deserts"