I recently spent a couple of hours at the DMV; it was time to renew my driver’s license. The place was crowded with, in the words of the old prayerbook, “all sorts and conditions” of people. It was a multiracial and multigenerational melting pot. Around me, people were speaking in a variety of languages, including that version of English I associate with New Jersey. (It really is a different language, I think!) Every imaginable style of dress and undress was on display. People had done things with their hair I didn’t know could be done. Almost all of us were talking or texting or e-mailing on our smartphones.
Here’s a paradox about human nature: we look for home in a world where we never feel fully and restfully at home. That paradox explains why even the most settled and contented people have moments when they wonder if they will ever arrive where they most want to be.
Some children’s greatest fears live underneath their beds, and their parents have gotten up many a weary night and gone to their child’s bedroom, flashlight in hand, lifted the covers, shone the light on the dusty floor, and proved, once again, that there is no monster.
When I was a boy, I had a recurring dream about a giant, scowling, and mean-eyed lumberjack.
Years ago, I preached a sermon I still regret: a rambling, ill-focused, and sneering screed of a Palm Sunday sermon in which I took cheap potshots at parades. I talked about out-of-tune bands, out-of-sync drill teams, and out-of-shape military veterans crammed into their old uniforms.