Hope in the Midst of Chaos

Back in the saddle again. Out where a friend is a friend, where the longhorn cattle feed on the lowly jimson weed, back in the saddle again.                                                                      

Out on the range once more, totin’ my old .44, where you sleep out ev’ry night and the only law is right, back in the saddle again.

The words of this old western ballad caress my ears as I rock my grandson. The music of the rocker sings along with Gene. It’s the end of a busy week and a busy day. As we rock I listen to those words, words that are foreign to the ear in these days. Few people listen to cowboy music – not country music, mind you – true western music….ballads of life in the great western parts of our nation. They are filled with the stories of men riding the range, fighting the weather, living a life in which dreams and reality collide. 

As we rock I sing along and look into the true blue eyes that are looking up at me The words of the song speak to me more deeply than they have in earlier times. In this unhappy world, full of violence and illness, with the strain of society tripping over itself to find answers, I hear the clean music, the gentle voice, the words that speak of true friendship, of the peacefulness of an agrarian life, of a time when guns were not  something to argue over but simply a tool to use and the public was thankful for the rule of law.

I don’t think it is just my age that causes me to return to the old things, the good things, though it is true, or should be, that as we grow older we learn to appreciate the goodness of the old, rather than forsaking it. In our restless society, it has become more important to be ‘woke’ than to be wise. There is a great pressure to ‘keep up’, to be savvy, as we used to say. That was when people understood language more fully, read whole books rather than this blog of 500 words. 

There is no time now to study history and read deeply. We are too busy fighting and making sure we are not pushed around by others but instead WE do the pushing. Could it be, could it just be that those simple songs and simple times that are thought of as so naive and far too innocent, lacking the reality of skepticism and full of blinding hope were actually better? 

It was not a bad way to live when people were polite, when families sat around a nicely set table laden with food made by loving hands, and talked and laughed and cherished each other. The father at one end of the table, the mother at the other. Prayer was offered and all was just as it should be. A knock at the door was not feared, rather another chair was added to the table and food was passed.  This picture actually offends so many now; the thought of anything so picturesque must be eradicated. The present age of tomfoolery has no time for beauty, preferring instead to focus on how to make the world uglier.  Would that we could return to the days of love and understanding, of affection and kindness, of politeness and respect.

These thoughts meander through my mind as I watch my grandson’s eyes flutter and close, I listen to the lilting western ballad and my heart is encouraged that there are still some who live far away from the noise and there is hope that this child will not see the destruction of our society that is going on in the false name of justice. I hope that he, a white boy, or any of our other grandchildren – black and brown included, will not be judged by the color of their skin as so many seem to think is appropriate in these progressive times. 

The world has taken a turn for the worse; what was evil is now seen as good and what was good is now evil. The beauty of life on the range is unfamiliar to the angry protesters and to much of our society.  With blinded eyes, most could not see the goodness of a life lived outside the fog of mediocrity that is all the rage, where no one can do well and all must settle for the lowest denominator. In such a society, there is no use for beauty or striving for excellence – all must be the same.

Mock me if you choose, I prefer to follow a higher calling. Yes, head in the clouds, I will cling tightly to hope.  I choose to look up and to think on things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report, full of virtue, praise-worthy. It’s peculiar, I know. But who wants to follow the madding crowd? I’m happy coming out from among them, living high on a mountain, listening to beautiful music, and generally  being a peculiar person. Wow – that sounds, well, almost Biblical.

II Cor.6:17    Phil. 4:8

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