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A LITTLE QUIET TALK WITH UNCLE STEVE
PULL UP A CHAIR, BUNKY-- WE NEED TO TALK:
The 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.
On 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 in test trials. 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 "born again". Are we being had by in-church agents provocateur?
Do 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.
What 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.
For 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).
Too 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.
Furthermore; 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.
Let 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 Boon. 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 trying to get to Texarkana, right?
We need to make a margin of quiet and space right around us. I am not talking about these retired hypocrites in Arizona. They arrive in Casa Grande or Sierra Vista one day, and three weeks later they are bellyaching about all the 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.
We 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.
This 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.
So, 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 piers at Hermosa Beach, and INHALE. That air came air conditioned by a million ocean waves, not Kaiser Steel.
Drive 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.
Genesis 2:8 And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.
What 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:
If you are stuck in Brooklyn, take a trip down here to Tennessee, and see the Great Smoky Mountains. Then head on down to Louisiana and see the swamps and bayous. 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.
Stop 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.
Are 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? :-)
Same rules apply. Stop often. Stay on two lane roads as much as possible and overnight in towns of 2000 or less. 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 thing. Room for only six people at the counter. Best home cooking in 14 Western States. Best gossip in the USA until you enter Tennessee.
Next, 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 your sense of wonder again.
By 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 mail route or 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.....
"Bill, who was them city slickers who brought you and the misses to the cafe here last Sunday?"
"You know them folks from New York City was real fine people, and they sure do love the Lord. They go all round the country lookin in on little places like Elk City. They said they'd be back one day to take in the County Fair. Showed them the breeder bull I'm raisin, and they nearly croaked. They never seen a critter that big in their life. Told us to come see 'em in New York some day. Reckon we just might...."
Go on now, DO IT!
4. A LITTLE QUIET TALK WITH UNCLE STEVE
10. QUIETNESS WITH WHOLE SCREEN PICTURES OF GOD'S CREATION-- Long Load-- Graphic intensive.
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