“You can’t go on seeing through things forever. The whole point of seeing through something is to see something through it.” — C.S. Lewis
“Practice resurrection. Part of who you are is who you will be.” — Wendell Berry
It was an early April morning as we drove away from the “Last Chance Food and Gas Café.” The sky was brilliantly blue with only a couple of clouds hanging there.
Uncle Mac was pretty quiet after the long drive the night before and a big breakfast. So I was the first to break the silence.
“When do we hit Mountain Time?” I asked.
“When we get to the mountains.”
That didn’t get very far. “So what time is it in Mountain Time?”
Mac was to the point. “You gain an hour crossing from Central Time to Mountain Time. You lose it when you come back.”
I tried to engage in some adult conversation in my most coherent adolescent mind available at 7:30 am, “Have you ever wondered what it would be like if you lived right on the line between two time zones?”
There’s not a lot to look at on the highway past Salt Flats, Texas, on the way to the Guadalupe Mountains. And the flat terrain plays tricks on you. Everything is right in front of you, which, it turns out, means things can be pretty deceptive.
You see mirages of water on the highway in the distance. And when, on the rare occasion, it is water, you don’t believe it until you actually splash through it! It is West Texas after all. Dry dirt, sand, tumbleweeds — and more dirt.
Every time I saw a distant shadowy surface appear to reflect light on the highway, I’d ask Uncle Mac, “Is that water?”
Pretty soon I wasn’t even asking before he’d just randomly shout out, “It’s not water!”
When the mountains finally came into view on the horizon, we were looking at it across 30 miles or more of brown, arid prairie land. Approaching it at 65 mph on a straight two-lane highway — just watching and waiting as it very slowly enlarges into view. It can have a hypnotic effect on you. Even when the range came into clearer view, I was still pondering, silently, “Are those trees on top, or just bushes? Is that a log moving slowly along the upper ridge? Or is it a lumbering bear?”
When we finally got close to the Guadalupe Mountains, we crossed over one of those shadowy highway mirages I’d been looking at, skeptical to the last moment. Then Splash!
“Hmmm,” Uncle Mac smiled. “Guess it snowed last night. Who’d have believed that?”
“Not you,” I mumbled.
Time has a way of changing your perspective in the mountains — all the more so, as you move from arid desert to mountains and trees. Temperatures change. Animals change. The sun seems to rise and set differently. That night in the mountains it snowed while we slept. The next morning Uncle woke me with shouts, and cursing, and howls of laughter as he discovered over a foot of fresh snow, temps 20 degrees colder than we’d planned for, and all of our food tossed about or missing.
“Wow. Guess we had a bear last night! Can’t stay now. No food and it’s too cold.”
I rubbed my eyes as I looked out at him through the tent flap, “A bear was here?!”
It was a much quicker trip back down the mountain that morning. And on the way back home, as we crossed the Mountain Time Zone line, Uncle Mac broke the silence.
“Tommy, did I ever tell you about this little town in New Mexico, Tuba City? They have two separate times zones — Main Street runs right down the middle of time. There was this fella there who was perpetually late on both sides of the street. They called him ‘the time traveler’.”
This Sunday, Palm Sunday, begins our Holy Week observances. Charme Robarts will bring the message, jumping off from my sermon last week “Credo in Transitu” as she explores Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem and shares with us a clever look at some interesting Latin phrases and some superpowers. We’re guaranteed to find them helpful!
The story of Jesus’ 7 days leading to his execution is a familiar one for Christians and non-Christians alike. It’s a bit of a trip through history and story and perspectives. But story, or history, or a generous blend of both, celebrating Easter is one of those events that people often find themselves either seeing through it all or seeing only what is convenient for their faith.
Ultimately, seeing through “something” should be about seeing something else through it.
This Holy Week, I invited you to join us in eleven:eleven, and throughout the week at First UMC, to see something new through the story and re-membering of the seven days leading up to Easter.
Palm Sunday, April 14
“credo in transitu — redux”
with the music of elton john, five for fighting
and another interview with “one of us”.
Easter Sunday, April 21
@ the historic 512, 11:11 a.m.
“seeing through easter”
rev. tom mcdermott
(singer/songwriter, finalist on The Voice)
Associate Pastor of eleven:eleven