The View From Robert Street
Your Rector is home for the week with a small bout of pneumonia. Please keep him in your prayers and he hopes to be back with you on Sunday
The popular television show ‘Friday Night Lights’ is set in the small towns of west Texas and looks at life on the football field, the classroom, and the living rooms of small town America in a mostly forgotten part of the world. The oft repeated slogan from the characters is ‘Texas Forever’.
As some of you know last week I had my own ‘Texas forever’ moment - traveling through Midland, to Fort Davis, to Alpine to Marfa and finally down to the desert down in Wilderness near Ruidosa, Texas and the Mexican border. And while I don’t have any plans to abandon Baltimore for the wilds of west Texas - I do have an appreciation for the stark beauty, the remoteness, and the importance of self-reliance that is evoked out in the desert.
After presenting an award in my mother’s name to a housing advocate in Dallas; My brother and his husband and I travelled down to Ruidosa, TX to find a small piece of land my grandfather had purchased in the 1970s. Neither my grandfather, nor my dad, nor my uncles had ever been able to find this land (my mother had told us it may not even be real), but my brother and I thought it would be fun to go find it. That it might help us learn something about our family and maybe bring a little peace as well.
It WAS quite an experience. There is a small set of cabins near a hot spring about a mile from the property where we stayed for the night. We lost cell service about two hours from there. And except for a (Very random) airport/bar/general store with Wi-Fi ten miles away there was no way to communicate with the outside world.
It is amazing how loud silence in the desert can be.
The next morning we were met by an old Texas landowner, Jim, who took us off-roading in his truck to find the land. Armed with a GPS receiver (and our phones which have surprisingly accurate GPS!) we set out mapping out the corners of four small five acre plots. The best piece, my grandfathers, had a long, wide flat piece of land just under a hill with a beautiful view of the Sierra Madre mountains in Mexico. We left a few of my grandfather’s mementos there, to give him a chance to enjoy the view too, and spent a lot of time dreaming about what ‘could be’ on that 20 acre parcel.
It was the first time that Chase and I have spent a lot of time together talking about something other than my mom’s passing in the last year. And the first time, I at least, have allowed myself to really dream. Even if they are idle dreams about a small patch of land I may never see again, it was fun to say ‘Texas Forever’ as I dreamed about Adobe shelters, solar houses and giant water collecting barrels, or at least a ‘No Wall building here’ sign.
There is a lot of negativity in the world right now. And a lot to be angry and upset about. From violence in our city, to unheard of levels of corruption in our national government, to an extended national conversation on sexual harassment that continues to make victims the ones we put on trial. It is hard to see positivity. So I want to encourage you to make space to dream. Dream about where you find yourself called these days. In terms of work, relationships, family, even here at Memorial — make space to Dream. And if that means creating some noisy silence, like we found in the Desert, maybe turn off your cell phone for the day. Or turn off the television and pick up the book. Or even just join us for Bible Study - we have a number of options during the week now.
So that you can dream too. Texas Forever. Baltimore Forever. Memorial forever.