Random and not so random musings from a 5th generation NE Missourian who became a 1st generation Episcopalian. Let the good times roll!

Psalm 69:20:

Insults have broken my heart, so that I am in despair. I looked for pity, but there was none; and for comforters, but I found none.

This is kind of a weird photo, but allow me to explain.

It's a photo taken through the windshield of my truck, aka "The Blessed Red Truck" (BRT for short, the name I gave it following "The Blessing of the Vehicles" we had one Sunday after coffee hour) showing two cracks on the glass.

Both times, rocks hit my truck and there really wasn't much I could do about it.

Crack #1: I was driving in to church Sunday morning, and my neighbor meets me on the gravel road, driving his 4-wheeler. I saw a rock fly off one of the wheels and there was this awful slow-motion moment, right out of a Sam Peckinpaugh movie, as I saw it careening towards my windshield and there was not squat I could do about it.

Then, SMACK! When I looked, there was a crack.

Crack #2: Monday, when I was driving between Unionville and Milan on Missouri Hwy. 5, right near the giant metropolis of Lemons, MO, an 18 wheeler sort of edges onto the shoulder accidentally. More rocks. SMACK! This time a smaller, less easily seen rock did the damage, but a new crack was there, just the same.

I'll tell you the problem when a rock cracks your windshield. There's essentially nothing to do but wait until the crack gets big enough either a) it won't pass inspection (In Missouri, when it is deemed to "obscure the driver's vision," it will no longer pass inspection,) or b) you can't stand looking at it any more and decide to fix it.

The first crack was certainly a test of my resolve AND my obsessive-compulsive nature. I had just Facebooked a status report prior to leaving the house that was all hopeful and cheerful, and in the kind of frame of mind I wanted to take to church with me. I was happily listening to music, on my way into town for church. So not more than two minutes into my trip, my sunny demeanor had 180'd into a stream of curses heaped upon gravel and all forms of rock, and of course, all the way in, I'd constantly look back at the crack, both trying to figure how badly it was cracked, and if the crack was still lengthening.

I obsessed about that crack all day Sunday, every time I got in the truck to go anywhere. I felt like the BRT had been, well...violated...somehow. I kept trying to distract myself by saying things like, "Well, I'm glad the windshield was there. I would have really hated to have had that rock hit me in the face." But how could this happen to my Blessed Red Truck! Aggh!

Monday morning, I had almost stopped obsessing (too much) about it. My eyes were no longer continually drawn to it, at least. But then I got the second rock. This time, though, it was a feeling of resignation because the windshield had already been cracked. My reaction didn't have 1/10th the fury of the first one. It was pretty much a "Well, it's already been sullied, no sense being angry now," attitude.

In fact, I drove down Hwy. 5 thinking to myself, "Well, when's the third rock gonna hit it? Everything comes in threes; let's just get it over with."

Now think about this one.

In very little time at all, my attitude had gone from, "You nasty rock! How dare you hit the Blessed Red Truck!" to "Well, hell, it got hit again," to "It's going to get hit one more time, I just want to take my lumps and get it over with."

When I look at the line from the Psalm above, I realize that the first rock broke my truck (which is directly connected to my heart, I'd say,) but the second rock broke my spirit.

So, which crack is the most hurtful? The first one or the second one?

Of course, they both did something. It can't really be quantified which one has the most "broken-ness" attached to it. The two cracks are more or less miscible in the sum total of the broken-ness, and they are synergistic in that the sum total of the broken-ness equals more than the sum of the parts.

So what it means, ultimately, is the embodiment of a quote attributed to Plato--"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle."

Yes, we might have lobbed what everyone would recognize as a "low level insult" to someone. But if that person's spirit already has multiple cracks in it, even the mildest insult could topple their spirit like a house of cards. Yes, the broken-ness was already there--but ours helped it reach critical mass for a brokenheartedness and a broken spirit far beyond the negative value of the insult. Better we should be kind, instead.

In those times of our own broken spirits, it often seems like there's no friend to be had, no human kindness in sight, doesn't it? Not to mention, the crack can't be undone. Once the glass was violated, just as with my windshield, we are stuck in a place sometimes where we find ourselves "able to do nothing until we see if the crack is just going to stay that size or get bigger," or we sometimes get stuck obsessing about the crack and finding our emotions getting pulled around over something that has already been done and can't be fixed.

Some of those cracks, of course are inadvertent. My neighbor had no intention of his 4-wheeler tossing a rock. The driver of that semi truck didn't deliberately throw rocks toward the other lanes of the highway. Those things "just happen."

But isn't it all the more reason to practice kindness?



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Kirksville, Missouri, United States
I'm a longtime area resident of that quirky and wonderful place called Kirksville, MO and am wondering what God has hiding round the next corner in my life.

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