Saturday, September 06, 2008

Driving Home a Little Slower

Sometimes, God presents you with these little moments. Glimpses of grace and reflection. The feeling that, if maybe for a few moments you have been relieved of the mundane pattern of living. Gravity gets a little lighter, and the space between Heaven and Earth gets very thin.

I had a few moments like that last night. I won't forget them soon.

It was 10:45 PM, and Nancy & I had just had a wonderful dinner and long, interesting conversation on our back porch with friends. After chatting for hours, our friends departed, and it was my turn to pick up our 14 year-old at a friends house, just two blocks away. A bunch of neighborhood kids had all decided to gather at this home to watch TV and hang out. I was to pick up Heather and her friends, and deliver everyone home. Normally, this would be an ordinary task. Lately, I have taken to looking for the extraordinary in the ordinary.

As I pulled up to the house, I could see all the kids in the kitchen, hugging each other goodbye, in that special, Not in Junior High, but Not Really in High School sort of way. There I sat, outside in the dark in the car, looking back 35 years or so, and reflecting on that same time in my own life. Caught farther along in time, glancing over my shoulder.

The kids piled in the car, and the friends were delivered home, complete with jokes, and giggling, and even cell phone photos taken of each other as we drove home. Playing softly in the background, from my Ipod, was Eric Clapton, the Unplugged Album. Just another seemingly normal September night.

But as we headed home, Clapton's ballad, "Tears in Heaven" came on. I paused the Ipod, and turned to Heather, telling her that this song had been written after Eric Clapton lost his son, who was only 4 years old. "This song asks a lot of good questions", I said.

And then, we two, drove silently, all the way home, a drive of about 5 minutes, listening to the words of this haunting song.

Loss, pain beyond our knowing, and questions about Heaven.

I drove home slower than I usually do. Note to self: I need to do this more often.

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