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VW Bugs, Little Old ladies, Adolph Hitler & Drive Thru help

February 23, 2007

            There is a point at which all human systems, no matter how well crafted their design, begin to implode. All of them, from communism to capitalism, if carried to their logical conclusion become toxic. It seems we are never happy with just a few rules. We need rules to define the rules. And then those rules need rules to protect us from the people who enforce the rules, and so on ad infinitum.

            You see we were never designed to tell each other what to do. It was supposed to be each man and his creator walking in true harmony, like it was in the beginning, Enjoying life and beauty with relationship being the center of everything. I have heard veiled references in my time here on this spinning ball of mud to the “circle of life”. As with all things esoteric there are always those who believe they have it figured, but what I don’t get is that they always disagree with all the others who definitely know what they’re talking about.

            So, here’s what it comes down to with me, it’s all about who drives the new Volkswagen beetle. That’s right! I know the last guy who “figured it out” said it was monster trucks, but he was dead wrong.

            Let me explain myself. Where I’m from we don’t see too many of those cute new bugs and when we do they are usually piloted by some pimply faced kid whose Daddy obviously has more money than sense which, by the way is a symptom of having carried capitalism too far and its having become greed to the point of ridiculous. Me and my friends did just fine in our twenty year old land cruisers. But I digress.

            The other day on a fairly routine trip to the bank, I say fairly because I left more money than I carried away, I saw something. In a seven eleven parking lot I saw an old lady in a brand new, lime green beetle. I’m thirty-five myself so when I say old I have some perspective. I’m not talking about somebody who barely got the new rubbed off I mean old as in, “The Smithsonian has a lot of cool old stuff in there revolutionary war display.” She didn’t know how to use the gas pump, or else she was so old she had forgotten.

            Don’t get me wrong old people are some of the coolest people we share our planet with, it just struck me as odd, so I drive on and not two miles later what to my wondering eye should appear but a bright pink bug with dice in its mirror. It had a tag that read “Gum Bug” and sitting behind the wheel is a woman that I’m pretty sure went to kindergarten with my eighty-four year old grandmother.

             Fast forward to: later that evening, my lovely wife Angel and I have dropped five our seven kids off at their respective Wednesday night bible classes and since they are not currently running a study that is a fit for us we scoot out the door to get an hour of well deserved adult conversation. We pull into Wendy’s for a quick bite and there sits another one of those beetles with, I kid you not, THREE little old ladies scraping through the bottom of a purse looking for the keys to the darn thing.

            So I tell my wife that this is significant and she laughs at me, but it is and here’s why. Old people get it. Oh sure, they can’t remember your name or theirs half the time, and maybe the have a hard time finding things like glasses and restrooms in a timely fashion. But when it comes to stuff that’s real, they get it. At the two points when our connection to this earth is at its weakest we all want to drive a beetle, shut up you know what I mean, we want to have fun with friends.

            When we are closest to our origins and when we get close to our destination we seem to see more clearly what really matters. We want to experience beauty and talk to people and ask how they are and mean it and have enough time to hear their answers and maybe offer an opinion on what it all means.

            Young people get it too. I know they are a pain in the neck when some jerk gives them a set of headphones and the power to make your fast food lunch a trip into the seventh circle of Dante’s inferno, but look at them, honestly don’t you sometimes wish you could remember what you didn’t know then? What is it that drags us into believing that we should spend all of our time trying to “fix” what’s wrong with the world instead of building relationships and sharing life with each other? Why is that more important?

            Is saving for your retirement, or becoming politically active really worth sacrificing every decent chance at real friendship on the alter of being proactive? When we talk about changing the world do we mean the people in it? Or the system? Guess what, the system will burn just like everything else and in the end the only thing that escapes the flame for those of us who have secured our destination, is our relationships.          You hear it said all the time that no one ever wishes at the end that they had spent one more hour at work. They regret not making more friends, not being nice to the people around them, not participating in the real things of life. I think that many of the people who tried to be relevant will be sorely disappointed as well because they chose to engage in changing the system and not the lives of the people that were crushed by it.

             SO, way too late to say something cute like “long story short”, go out and rage against the machine! But make it personal. Remember the system was destined for failure anyway but God says that he is willing that none should perish so we are all destined to know him. Unfortunately many of us will miss that boat but that shouldn’t keep us from giving away as many tickets as we can, they’re free, and they don’t really belong to you anyway, and I’m sure they have some kind of shower in heaven so homeless people and drunks are welcome too, and yes you have to sit by them, after all where would Jesus sit? But more importantly what would

Jesus Drive

? Maybe a Volkswagen beetle? (and if you just thought to yourself that Hitler invented the beetle you are just way too into systems, go make a new friend)

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