Passion and wild horses

Hard to believe, yet all to easy to believe, its been six months since my last post.

I’m at work, listening to streaming audio via iTunes. I usually listen to GrooveSalad, but this week decided to branch out. I’ve been sampling various adult contemporary and electronica stations. Today, I’m listening to Big City Hit Radio.

I was typing an e-mail, and on came Gino Vannelli’s “Wild Horses”…

I bought that CD twenty years ago just for that song, and I appreciated much of the other music. But I bought it because I was in Arizona at the time, attending ASU. I used to drive home every summer and for winter holidays… Arizona Highways used to be a great experience, a spiritual and an earthy profane communion with Westward Ho the Course of Empire.

I was much more fit then, and the drive was something of a survival experience. Most times, I would drive it in one day, or an extra half day, but occasionally I would take three or four days. Car camping, or just sleeping in the car, taking random side roads or deliberately confuscated routes, seeing an extra slice of America and learning to deal with the extra complications which might inevitably arise.

Having said that, I had my favorite places. Leaving Grand Junction heading west into the Utah badlands, there are these fantastic gorges. To stop and walk out and squat and look out over one, or find a public dust trail of a road and drive off into…nowhere, until the highway is no longer visible and just put the seat back and take a nap with a frontier breeze blowing between the windows…

Or taking the twisty backroad through Moab to get down to Flagstaff — gads how I love that thousand-foot drop from the National Forest to the valley floor! — passing the edge of the Grand Canyon, or even driving on over to the South Rim and going for a short hike. I also remember taking a 15 mile “elevator ride” behind a semi once: setting the cruise about one car-length off his bumper, and making a sandwich from the contents of my cooler and just kicking back and relaxing — then, as we approached the summit, pulling out from behind him, down-powering my CB and thanking him for the ride as I shot around him…

This was a passionate time for me. A time for taking certain risks, and unfortunately (or not) not taking others. “Wild Horses” is a beautiful, passionate romantic song which really sung to my spirit. About a gritty passionate gripping of love and lust and finding that sweet groove (there is nothing not gritty about love in the Arizona dirt…). And how I so wanted that, wanted to find that someone with whom I could just roll in the dust of those amazing high plains. Not a woman for a one-time romp, but a woman who would be there beside me or me her and life was a continuous romp….

…and I’m sitting at my desk writing an e-mail.

Where did that passion go? When I was in my 20s, I was full of this passion — for love, for life, for work even. Now I sit here “more mature” undoubtedly, but I find that I am somehow content. The song plunked those touch-strings back to the associated passion – I relive them, and the imagery of the song, like it was yesteryear – but somehow I am more solid than I was. It no longer resonates.

There is somehow more to me, more bulk. I feel some kind of… regret? Not quite regret… something. I don’t regret where I am, rather I simply question what is different.

I think.. I feel… that the difference is qualitative. I am currently taking risks whole orders of magnitude greater, and I am taking them in a purposeful, level-headed, thought-out manner. In this way, they are more deliberate than a heart-on-my-sleeve wild impulse. More meaningful.

But I wonder, is there room for both? Should there be?

I can’t help but believe that where I find myself presently, comparatively, is the result of spiritual growth: its both faith in action, and a greater centering and focus on God and Christ rather than on my furtive human impulses. In the daily devotional I’m reading, yesterday’s message was about “taking the high road to heaven, rather than the low road, to avoid much of the quagmire.” The low road is convoluted and twisted into knots.

I find myself traveling the high road – by God’s grace, not my own – and find the travel is much easier. I have more energy to devote to the tasks before me, as well to my own pleasure, my own leisure. Understanding that, I’m first grateful to Jesus for His sacrifice on the Cross and making the high road available to me and all who follow Him, and second I’m grateful that I’m not on the low road — that I’m not wasting effort or time traversing switchbacks. Instead I’m spending more time on those cliff faces enjoying the view.

Still… I’d like to find that woman and roll around in the Arizona mud.

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December 28, 2011