Yesterday I rode up Midwest Boulevard, zigzagged on Hefner Road to Douglas Boulevard, north to where it hits the turnpike underpass right before Memorial Road. Then I headed back to Midwest Boulevard. I stopped at the McClendon Memorial (previous references here and here). The redbud tree was quiet today. It seemed as if the business of the memorial was done; life goes on and only a few will remember his name, much less his passing.
For a couple of weeks I’ve been through a dry spell in the sense of that vivid communion with nature. It’s not a bad thing, just something that I passed through because it was there in my path. But now the hunger has returned and I sense the need to start paying attention again. While the whole experience is too personal to share, there are some markers I want to point out to you, indicators of things you might want to explore.
See James 4:13-16 — There’s nothing wrong with making plans and doing business. That’s how the human intellect engages this world. What’s wrong is investing your soul into such things. Do stuff because that’s what you feel called to do, but you should never assume that what we accomplish in this life means much. It’s all the other stuff inside our souls that matters. We have here two images of seasonal wild flowers to put McClendon’s life in perspective. That man’s memory resides in the minds of those who gave and received time with him. The imprint of his passing will vary with each individual, but the memories will fade. His business legacy is probably a somewhat better memorial than that patch of grass and weeds at the underpass where he died, even as the legal noose tightened on him. But I’m curious, waiting to see if someone comes back out to that spot and installs a more durable monument. It will say much of the people who remember him.
The New Testament is flooded with passages that tell us flatly not to get too wound up in this life, this body we use. It’s easy to get lost in all the pains and sorrows of injustice, but we have to remember that this world is fallen and transitory. I’m not trying to preserve my flesh through fitness; I’m trying to use it for God’s glory. His glory will be there waiting when I leave this world; nothing else from this life will follow me out of it. This is part of why I wasn’t emotionally devastated by that collision a year ago and the resulting permanent knee troubles. This is why I can forgive all the people who used and abused me through this life. I’m leaving all of that here.
There should always be a part of our awareness that holds to one truth: What really matters it the grace and mercy we share with Creation. It’s all one thing; we are created along with the rest of it. But we are fallen and the rest of Creation is innocent. Countering the Curse of the Fall is not something to accomplish; it’s a battle for every moment of life. It’s not recorded in detail, but the record is written into our souls. I have no need to seek organization of anything at all. Everyone in this world following his/her own sense of calling is inherently good and right. The aggregate result is not any part of my worries. God has flatly said He’s not going to fix this broken world to suit anyone’s sense of propriety. So I don’t expect much from human accomplishment, least of all my own. What I expect is a constant battle to manifest His glory. I’m fighting myself on this, because my fallen nature is hostile to His glory. A critical element in His redemption is to stop giving my fallen existence so much attention, except as it signals a demand for greater faith.