That’s Life

Dave Smith

The black ribbon curls away, a white line staccato emptying behind into narrow nothing.  Now and then the GPS chirps a British accent direction more like a nag insistently pronouncing loss of direction sense.  Grey steaks resist the eastern rise of blue-ish pink dawn and the push of yellow gleam soon to reveal the promised blue-sky day.  Heater blasts compensate for the open-window-elbow-in-the-wind chills I insist join me, exhilarate me as I 70-ish cruise the highway.  “Alone, alone, all all alone…”, alone on this wide, wide road – if Coleridge might forgive my theft of his mariner rime lines.  The skinny remnants of night hold me as well and I refuse to demand its hand fall free from my thinks.  I thrill with the drive, the first of any distance in several months, the first chance taken at an early hour when travel sparsely tracks with me.  Tires hush away miles of morose.  Streaks continue to invade the horizon as my southward trace slips easily west towards home, the sunrise now backdrop adding gleams to the weekend slipping away.

I listen to much radio talk about trust.  Why, there’s a good, God fearing car dealership in Kellogg and I absolutely have to stop and be fairly sold an auto.  If I need a new home, why just the best Christian realtor resides in Ann Arbor.  And that lonesome passing work truck boasts a cross and truly sincere estimates most assuredly honest and without worry of overcharge.  Where else could I possibly want to visit or stay than in the Dairy State with its God blessed beauty of rolling hills and wonderful northland woods and lakes?  I must smile as I switch channels to find the 50’s – 60’s tunes I know so well or to catch an update on the latest NASCAR rule changes and complaints about the last race at Homestead.  I avoid country tunes today – a bio in amped bass doesn’t fit the fun of freedom at the wheel.  I can’t even build up to a rant about all this money changing in the temple approach to sales.  “That’s life…” as Sinatra sang.

I do prickle a parsec as another lonesome vehicle manages to barely get past me and cuts in to exit at a nearly gone by ramp.  Trust.  I wander around the moment thinking of all the things I must “trust” as I scoot along.  This Ford under me, an absolute breach of Dad’s faith in the Chevrolet!  The mechanics of steering, drive train, suspension, brakes, tires, computer…not to mention the road construction, bridges, and signage.  Then there’s that “other guy” and his emotional/physical state that tails my trunk at 72MPH who also trusts the aforementioned items and me and my ability to drive.  Is there frost on that shaded curve?  Nah, let’r roll.  Zip through the tolls – my Ipass surely works.  The highway patrol will allow me 6 over…or is it 5?  Well, I won’t become a panic go pedal pusher, but it does give pause.  This presents a whole mess of trust at speed.  I bet most of us pay little attention to it anymore.  We gotta go, gotta be there, don’t know where, but gotta be on time. “That’s life and I can’t deny it.”  Dean Kay and Kelly Gordon penned that song for Sinatra, the phrase being too often used for disappointments when the intent offered all the good life can have.  “Each time I find myself flat on my face/I pick myself up and get back in the race…”  That takes trust, faith that ‘better’ lies a step or two ahead, not in a crawl back.  Those errors?  Those multiply magnified, guilt personified moments of misdemeanor that hold our minds an arm’s distance from happy?  Yes, I have thought of quitting.

But then, here I am Lord.  Riding Your world assured of Your love and grace.  Christ took and takes the downs and I rise free.  “Up, down, over and out,” I do know one thing in faith.  I have life now and in death, new life in the promise to come.  Home looks pretty good up ahead.  That’s life.