I've seen some beautiful things.
I don't claim to know how he did it or how long it took, but God kicked some serious ass in his creation of this big green and blue ball. Canyons were carved, mountains pushed up through the earth, and somewhere on a line that runs North and South between Athens and Centerville, TX the vast forest of the American South turns into the prairies and plains and flat and dusty parts of the Great American West. Gone With the Wind gives way to Gunsmoke. If you are easily bored (and, thus, greatly boring,) you'll miss it and probably say how much better everywhere else in the world is better than here. If, however, you take seriously the admonition of Saint Kyle to Embrace Beauty wherever it can be found, your breath just might be taken away. In the long history of the world I am one of the relative few who has seen this geographic transition not once, but hundreds of times, including twice this weekend, and I believe that, my dear friends, is quite beautiful indeed.
I've seen my share of churches where young people experience shame on a weekly basis. For what? You name it-- Not telling people about Jesus, sleeping around, and sitting on the back pew of church and writing notes. This morning I watched a pastor encourage, even dote on, the youth of his church. For what? Just showing up. It's hard being a teenager and it can be hard, even brutal, to muster the energy just to show up to worship with the saints. I saw a pastor recognize that and it's a rare thing but I'm hear to tell you again, my dear friends, it was beautiful.
I've seen the same group of young people told, by one of those "youth speaker" type people at one of those "city-wide-rally" type events, in so many words, that homosexuals are less than human. I saw them filter through such ignorance to find good things in a bad situation and I watched the cool kids embrace those that others do not think are cool, without even being told and I find that quite beautiful.
I've flown (harnessed) fifty feet in the air, felt the wind rush past my face, seen over the Timberline, and felt a physical reminder of the existential feeling of freedom. Again, true beauty.
I passed through Brandon Durham's hometown and was reminded what a jewel of a person that dude is. I've listened to these lines by Michael Tolcher while passing over the River Neches that flows northward toward a town called Chandler: "Get behind my eyes for another view/ Of painted skies beautiful blue/ Don't be surprised if I'm a lot like you/ We'll carve a place for love inside of you/ The empty space, let it flow through/ And then your face can show your feelings true," and if I could stand up and drive at the same time I'd probably have danced a jig. I've thought good thoughts about the people I love and after driving through the city limits of Waco stood at the burial site of my best friend and cried like I meant it, because I did. Two days previous I listened to his twins argue over who would get to talk to me on the phone and, in the end, tell me they love me. I entered back into my world today with the words of Gary Allan ringing in my heart: "Life aint always beautiful, but it's a beautiful ride." I came home to emails and blog comments from the greatest people in the world with words of encouragement and love.
And that, my dear friends, makes one beautiful weekend.