Rabid Fun

John Cowart's Daily Journal: A befuddled ordinary Christian looks for spiritual realities in day to day living.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

We Live In A Bus Station

About ten years ago as I walked past a closing business, I spotted a tapestry the workers were throwing out into a dumpster.

The business that was closing was a bus sub-station.

The tapestry featured the famous Greyhound Bus Company logo woven in heavy carpeting material.

I spoke with the site manager and he gave me permission to take the heavy wall-hanging home with me. At the time, we did not own a car so I balanced the awkward rug between the seat and handlebars of a bicycle and walked the thing a mile home.

The Greyhound rug delighted Ginny.

We often joked that so many people pass through our house that it’s like living in a bus station.

We placed the colorful rug in our entrance foyer to greet visitors.

The number of folks who visit amazes me. Essentially we are quiet, shy people who live to ourselves, read, write, love, pitter in our garden, and don’t bother anybody. Our home lays in a cul-de-sac off the beaten path where I work on my manuscripts absolutely alone.


Then, there are days like today when Ginny says .our Greyhound rug seems symbolically appropriate:

Before Ginny left for work, my friend Wes came over and took me to breakfast then we returned home to talk about the future of the printing industry, loneliness, aversion to church attendance, medical stuff, Christian dating, and the place of homosexuals in the Christian community.

As Wes left, my daughter Patricia came out to talk about household matters. She told me that her friend Greg is in town today taking a history test to become a naturalized American Citizen.

Greg passed his test with flying colors.

I’m proud of him.

His accomplishment pleases me.

Prepare for a stupid aside rant:

When Greg arrived at our house to take Patricia to lunch to celebrate passing that test, naturally I asked him an important history question: Who was Nathan B. Forrest and why are some people protesting this week to have his name removed from a local high school?

Greg, like 90% of the people here in Jacksonville, had never heard of Nathan Forrest. He was a significant Confederate General during The War. After The War he organized a resistance movement against enemy occupation and carpetbaggers oppressing Southern people. But, the character of his group changed over the years and the KKK earned its present-day reputation.

Last week protesters demanded changing the name of the high school which has for many, many years borne his name.

Feelings run high in the community.

I say remove all school names, give them all numbers, and teach the kids to read and make change for a dollar — which skills seem beyond many high school graduates.

On the same note, since many people object to college football and other sports teams being named after Indian tribes (Although no school would name its team for any but the bravest and the best) I have a solution to that too:

Pass a law mandating that all football teams must be named after plants.

Thus, instead of the Florida State Seminoles vs the Georgia Bulldogs, we’d have the Florida Sandspurs vs the Georgia Pansies.

You’d never guess which team I cheer for, would you?

Didn’t mean to go there! Anyhow, let me get back on track here.

As Patricia, Greg and I talked, our conversation ranged from cats to race relations and my own tiny, minor role in the Civil Rights movement during the late 1960s (Bunch of people, both white and black, shot guns and such at me back then).

As that conversation was going on, Jennifer showed up to carry a load of donations to a rescue mission…

As we loaded her truck, Pat, a blind friend of mine, called saying she was on her way over in a taxi to talk with me.

I gave Jennifer, Greg and Patricia cash to buy their citizenship celebration lunch so I could listen to Pat alone.

At the same time, my brother called wanting to talk about his recent eye surgery. Successful.

Pat arrived upset that the Pakistani taxi driver had made overtures hitting on her and seemed pushed out of shape because she did not want to date him.

Since last fall she’s lost 45 pounds and is looking sharp.

She and I talked about her frustrations of living with low vision, her recent job interview, her pet dogs, how she needs a seeing-eye dog, dating and relationships in her situation, etc. etc.

Then Rhonda came over to take Pat back home.

By the time Pat and Rhonda left, it was already 4 o’clock and I sat down to smoke a pipe before shaving to meet Ginny. I fell asleep immediately with my pipe in my hand and the pages of a book crumpled in my lap. (Likely to set myself on fire one of these days).

When Ginny came in, we rushed off to the library to return overdue books and ate out, sharing our days activities over a meal.

When I told her about the flow of visitors today she remarked on how our Greyhound Bus Station rug is just right for our house… And here’s where this gets interesting:

Since my Father-in-law’s funeral last month, I’ve fallen way behind in my reading (usually I try to read three books a week) but my schedule is way off kilter. Recently I have been reading excerpts from the works of Meister Eckhart, a 13th Century German Christian mystic associated with the pietistic movement.

At supper I bemoaned to Ginny the fact that in all today’s socializing, in all my conversations with all the people who crossed my path today, not one conversation was Christ-centered.

All conversations were superficial froth.

I got no work done.

I gave no witness.

I prayed no prayers.

I made no difference.

Ginny said, “John, what you are is your witness. Your listening to people is your testimony. Your being there for them is your Christian work. A Christian’s witness is as unconscious and natural as his breathing”.

Now, I doubt if Ginny has never heard of Meister Eckhart, but her thoughts echo his exactly: About the year 1300, he said:

Christians never need to think so much about what they ought to do, but they should remember what they are. If people and their ways are good, their works shine forth brightly. If you are just, then your works are also just.

One should not think of basing holiness on one action, one should base holiness on being.

However holy the works are, they do not sanctify us at all in so far as they are works; but so far as we are and have being, to that extent we sanctify all our works, whether it be eating, sleeping, keeping vigils, or whatever else.

Those who have not much being, whatever works they may perform, nothing comes of it.

When we got home from the library, the message machine blinked at me. Two phone calls to return.

And my e-mail baskets overflow with everything from requests about historical photos of trains to observations about a recent blog posting.

I may get to all those tomorrow…


But the next bus leaves this station at 4 a.m.

I plan to be on it.

Please, visit my website for more www.cowart.info and feel free to look over and buy one of my books www.bluefishbooks.info
posted by John Cowart @ 5:04 AM


At 9:16 AM, Anonymous vicki said...

Good thing you married such a wise woman. She's right, I think- we witness best by how we live. And together, you have such great taste in entry rugs- that's wonderful!

I'm sad to read about Mrs. Morris and terrible about the humane society burning. Cats expect so little from us (and appreciate even less) and in return we get so much (even when they play hard to get.)

At 9:45 AM, Blogger Katrina A. said...

Powerful revelation...how many Christians would that change if they knew that what they DID meant a heck of a lot more than what they SAID?

My husband is extremely quiet and reserved, but he has more love and integrity in his pinky finger than most people do in their whole body. He has never "witnessed" to anyone or evangelized as far as I know, but I know scores of people and young men whose lives he has changed just by walking in integrity and love as a believer. It's so much more powerful than lip service.


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