PULL UP A CHAIR,
BUNKY-- WE NEED TO TALK:
day is now upon us in which one must "X" small boxes in order to be
alone. Registrations, e-mail, and bureaucratic forms now come to us under the
assumption that we do NOT want to be left alone and anonymous. Long ago, "X"
used to be only found on flour sacks and booze. Today, the "X" is epidemic
as a virus which threatens to bring us all to senility prematurely.
the Web we now have a proliferation of sites calling for "transparency"
so that every soul in the "global village" can see you at every moment
of your life. A new machine in the security of the airport is now being used to
allegedly find bombs. This X-ray machine strips a woman of her clothes and allows
men to see her body on a monitor under the assumption that she may be carrying
a bomb in her armpit. Privacy has been swept away via the Trojan Horse of "Homeland
Security". And, this is done by leaders who claim to be bringing us "change"
we need more transparency? No. We need more zealous bureaucrats who will do a
good job with the tools they already have. But, we do have these alleged dangers
created by our obsessive mobility and our shrinking world. So, we seem to be daily
deprived of a measure of privacy, quietness, and aloneness (If that is not a real
word I shall have massive upsetment) in proportion to the amount of rush and madness
in which we participate.
is the solution? I believe we need to reduce the mental lust for mobility. We
need to learn to be content with a smaller world. Now, I am not suggesting we
dumb ourselves down. Not at all. I am suggesting we eliminate the number of places
we think we need to go, and we should reduce the speed and/or convenience with
which we get there. We should be more loyal to one café, one church family,
one market down on the corner, a few good friends, nearer better than farther,
and one job, if God permits. Of course, that makes this page a bit suspect, right?
But, if I can send you into closer fellowship with real people, I believe God
will reward me. I shall see you in the Glory and hear about it one day soon enough.
example, a woman who does not like to have airport security men look at here naked
body, courtesy of the latest technology at the airport, can hop in a rented car
which is in top condition, and go visit the old folks at home in Vermont. No one
will demand to peek at her body, and she will see a lot of America as she travels
the ridges and valleys of Pennsylvania and New York (the part God made).
long? I only have one week vacation, right? Well, how badly do you want to not
be made a naked fool in the airport? Could you let this vacation lapse and take
two weeks later? Tell your Mom and Dad in Vermont why, and they will understand
and honor your standards.
you will not have to breath the germs of all the other people in the airplane.
Ask any pilot if that is a serious consideration.
us all see how we can help each other keep a healthy margin of quietness and distance
when it is desired. Let us learn to ask for it. "Elbow room," said Daniel
Boone. And, he ended up in Texas! There is something about Texas that makes you
feel like you have room to breath. Of course there is a trade off. The day you
want to leave Texas to visit the folks in Vermont, it seems like you spend half
of your vacation just trying to get to Texarkana, right?
need to make a margin of quiet and space right around us. I am not talking about
these retired New England hypocrites in Arizona. They arrive in Casa Grande or
Sierra Vista one day, and three weeks later they are bellyaching about all the
Massachusetts people who come to Arizona. They don't want privacy for themselves,
they want to own Arizona! I am talking about a quiet margin of privacy right around
you and me. This can even be accomplished in a city like New York or London. You
just have to work at it harder. In fact, that is why there are 5000 people living
in abandoned subway stations in New York City.
also need to be careful that we don't use the natural benefits of privacy and
quietness as an excuse to avoid people altogether. Good fellowship is also necessary
for survival. Even hamsters will die if they are not cuddled often. But, if you
startle a hamster, he will bite you in a second. If hamsters can figure that out,
you ought to be able to bunky.
is why we have this quiet place here so that you can at least have this starting
point. This technological point in cyberspace is no substitute for a visit with
God out yonder in the garden he planted.
visit a while, and then shut this monster down, and go for a walk and a talk with
Jehovah, the first Gardener? See what the birds are talking about in Central Park.
Walk out on one of the pier at Hermosa Beach, and INHALE. That air came air conditioned
by a million ocean waves, not Kaiser Steel.
out in the country in Britain, park the auto, and walk the hedge rows. You might
find a tit mouse or hedge hog to amuse you for hours.
2:8 And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man
whom he had formed.
a fool you are if you never go to have a look at the garden God planted for you.
And, what a treat you missed if you never met the folks in the little places around
the USA. Here is my suggestion:
you are stuck in Brooklyn, take a trip down to Tennessee, and see the Great Smoky
Mountains. Then head on down to Louisiana and see the swamps and bayous. Eat some
Cajun food, and talk to some locals about life in LA. Double back, and wander
through the Ozarks, and back to NYC via Penn's Woods. Upstate NY is just as pretty.
Go visit those common folks who pay for your street repair.
only to stay in towns no larger than 2000 people. Avoid Interstate Highways. Cut
down county roads. Make time to look. Get lost and ask the locals where you are.
Take every opportunity to talk to strangers who look like someone's grandpa or
grandma, especially if they look bored or lonely. Tell those country folks what
you are doing. You have no idea how sorry those fine southern folks feel for Yankees
who are stuck north of the Mason Dixon line. But, you have to talk to them and
let them know you are on a breathing trip. Ask them where the quiet pretty places
are. They will tell you.
you stuck in L.A? This is serious. Take I-5 north to the edge of the urban sprawl.
There goes a full day, right? Then get over on Highway 1. Stay on that, and take
the side roads to stay close to God's great sea, the Pacific. Take turns driving
so that both of you get to see the scenery. If you both look at the scenery, you
will BE scenery, right? :-)
rules apply. Stop often. Stay on two lane roads as much as possible and overnight
in towns of 2000 or less. How about a side trip to Solvang and eat Danish and
pea soup? Plan to zip right through San Francisco in one day. This is a journey
into quiet, not queer. Stop at Sonoma, and spend a whole day wandering around
the beach there. Listen to the surf. Don't go in! You might get hauled to Tokyo
before you surface. Go slowly north, out beyond Shasta, through the pass into
Oregon, and turn right. See if you can get on a logging road for a while. There
will be a café half way to nowhere where loggers eat. One thing on the
menu. Two huge jolly ladies running the cafe. Room for only six people at the
counter. Best home cooking in 14 Western States. Best gossip in the USA until
you enter Tennessee.
head for the Oregon desert, and just wander around for a while. Determine that
you will not re-enter California until you are in Flagstaff. Eat at the greezy
frijoles palace in Flagstaff, roll west downhill, and go home. Slip in the back
door, OK? Go across the back side of the mountains and stop at the cafe in Cherry
Blossom. This is your last chance at real people and a few sundry hicks who actually
grin when you walk in the door. Before you head home, go over to the park south
of the main road, play on the swings, and take a deep breath. Don't let the breath
out until you are on the end of the pier at Redondo Beach. Take a deep breath
of salt air, and ask God to help you to never lose you sense of wonder again.
the way, DO NOT stop to go to church in anything but clap board country churches
in small towns. Stop at random for prayer meeting and Bible study. Come as you
are, but modest. Ask them to pray that you will be safe, but mostly ask them how
you can pray for them. Take a country preacher to lunch on Sunday. These are God's
REAL servants. They work all week driving a school bus and substitute teaching,
and then they preach on Sunday. They do all the funerals and weddings in town.
They are usually tired, and eating out is a luxury. There is a soul stirring tale
of old time zeal for Jesus Christ in such people. Some are discouraged, and you
may be just the thing they need-- an ear from far away to listen. If the preacher
is away, take the deacon to lunch. His life may be just as much of a struggle,
and a visit with a "city slicker" could be a talking point at the cafe
for weeks later.....