Chaff

“Same old song, just a drop of water in an endless sea.  All we do crumbles to the ground though we refuse to see.  Dust in the wind.  All we are is dust in the wind.” – Recorded by:  Kansas, 1977.  Released, 1978.  Composer:  Kerry Livgren

They came somewhat covertly early last week, Tuesday morning to be exact.  Several masked scrappy-looking men, wearing gloves, dark glasses and baseball caps broke through, encroaching with the sunrise.  They quietly pulled up to the curb in a truck in the early morning while I remained defenseless in a deep sleep.  They brazenly, with all sense of one focused purpose, poured out of their truck, covered their faces with bandannas, and raided our property in broad daylight of the dawn.  It was horrifying.  The dreaded lawn-care crew invaded, started their mowers and latched themselves onto their leaf blowers without apology.

I never really liked spring in Texas.  Not that the blooms are less to look at than those in New York, but for other purposes.  Maybe it’s the pollen gifting sneezes, or the childhood memories of saying goodbye to classmates at the end of the school year.  Maybe it’s because the Texas heat , with deflating humidity, begins to melt your energy as early as April.  Either way, I could go from fall to winter then winter to fall with nothing in between, at least I think I could.  But here they were, marking the beginning of things to come as they chopped away at the lawn for the first time this season.

It’s funny the memories of yard work I have endured (and hated) over the years.  In the days of yore, I recall cranking up the old Craftsman mower from Sears (after my mom lit a fire under me) and went to it.  We were poor and couldn’t afford lots of lawn-care tools.  In fact, the mower I cut my teeth on didn’t have a grass-catcher bag attached.  The blades of discarded grass and weeds spewed out the side of the mower laying on the last row of newly sheered lawn where it remained.  As expected, in the end it disbursed by the wind.  What did stay, turned yellow and crunchy under the feet in the Texas sun.  It was what it was….chaff, so to speak.

Dust In The Wind was a huge hit when I was a senior in high school.  In fact, it became a classic and is highly regarded today as a treasure among the American songbook of the 70’s.  Kerry Livgren, of the group Kansas, and composer of the song, had become a Christian after years of spiritual searching and testing other theological and philosophical road-maps.  The other members of Kansas once said, back in the day, if you went to the back of the tour bus where Kerry was, they always were prepared to debate religion and philosophy.  In the lyric, you can hear his search for spiritual redemption and value.

As the decades go by, kids grow and exit stage left, grandchildren enter from stage right and health issues attend the golden way.  I can see, for me, school never seems to let out.  You get to a certain age where you have seen more in life than you will in the future.  I’m there.  One might ask; “Alan, just what have you observed?”   I’m glad you asked.

As the masked men tackled our lawn, wild flowers were hashed and slashed, weeds were mulched and clovers sliced and diced.  (Yes, even the four-leaf variety.)  When finished, all the tiny bits and pieces were blown away into the early morning March air, never to be rejoined to the stems left behind.

If you use your imagination, while sitting on a lawn chair with your cup of java, you can place your life among the shortened blades of grass.

Mower wacking

I’ve learned that dreams are mowed over, products of your work gets cut down, property rusts, rots and falters.  Diplomas and certificates, confirming conquered majors and minors, turn yellow and fade.  Fellowship, itself, blows away as friends leave you in the dust, or physically move away.  Strength, once thought of as life’s nuts and bolts, weaken, losing its grip.  Have you noticed that even careers, businesses and opportunities, once thought as bedrock, fall under the active sickles?  Wealth, retirement or income can escape in a day as things change with a blistering gust from Wall Street.  Beloved pets come and go like Texas Bluebonnets in early spring.  Isn’t it true, even self-esteem withers when there’s a drought?  Reputations often are bagged and taken to the curb as public image can be weed-whacked.  Your closest relationships grow old or often sour under the beating rays of the sun.  Unfortunately, marriages often get mulched under the swinging blades of life.  Certainly, the very life of the famous, the proud, including kings and queens, are visited by the blades.  When a loved one is cut down, before the possessions are distributed and the bank account is dissolved, the life is remembered.  The lyric of George Harrison comes to mind in, “All Things Must Pass”.

“All things must pass.  None of life’s strings can last.  So I must be on my way and face another day.  All things must pass away.” – George Harrison (1970)

In the end, there is a great tractor that cuts wide and deep, ravaging everything under its path.  The chaff of such is tossed into the wind, or bundled for the herds waiting in an open pasture.  After the team of mowers and blowers have loaded up their trailer and all is raked and bagged, what remains?

Billy Graham would say, the only thing that truly lasts is your relationship with God through Jesus Christ.  Eternal, not temporal. Imperishable, not perishable.

The mower needs its gasoline just as we need ample supplies of fuel for the race.

“For, ‘All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field, the grass withers and the flowers fall.” -1 Peter 1:24 (NIV)

 

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