22 June 2008

Grade It Incomplete

In the Tampa Bay area now, pausing to see friends and preach in a colleague’s church. Could not help but wonder if the car from Alaska going past me on the road might be on its way to Key West.

Journeys of the body are journeys of the mind, which is why we take them and why we read about them. I’ve already enjoyed a conversation with a reader about my deep pockets of outrage provoked by that frustrated evening in Louisville. Those infantile moments happen during regular life, of course, but I do not take time to notice their complexity and depth. I think you have to be out of your ‘element’ to see what is always there but obscured by familiarity.

Like that car from Alaska. I know that Alaska is the northwestern corner of the country and it was now in the southeastern corner. If I were at the wheel I would have a strong desire to go as far as I could, feeling a deep urge to complete touch the virtual corners of the country. Why is that?

A few years ago, on a different trip, I realized we were finishing all of Interstate 70. That pleased me. When I returned from my trip up the California highway 1 this past February I instantly planned how I could go back and finish it next year.

Looking back, I could see this in other ways. When I was first enamored of classical music I subscribed to a complete Beethoven recordings collection only half of which I ever heard, but the idea of having only some of the volumes seemed to me as ridiculous as a dictionary with only half the letters. Likewise, I have a complete collection of Bible Commentaries which I have only recently begun to read.

In short, I have a completeness fetish. Not about tasks so much as objects. When it comes to tasks I can be completely ragged and forgetful. That inconsistency is what intrigues me. How can I be so tidy in one place and so messy in another?

Well, I gotta clean up and go preach. That question will have to wait until I get behind the wheel again. Along with a lot more. For example, what does is say that my only incomplete course in college was my introduction to Religious Studies?

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