Friday, October 07, 2005

The 1

Perhaps there is three-hour drive somewhere in America that is more visually captivating than the Pacific Coast Highway ("the 1") from San Luis Obispo to Monterey. If so, please tell me what it is. The Blue Ridge Parkway simply cannot compare. Somewhere in the Rockies might have a chance, but there is something about looking down over breakers in the bright blue Pacific 200 yards to the west and up into 2000-foot hills not much further to the east sets a pretty high bar.

I drove this stretch of two-lane windy (WINE-dey and WIN-dey) highway Wednesday morning. A funny thing happened though. After about an hour my appreciation for the stunning beauty of the scene faded. Not even the sensory orchestra of the rich and changing vistas, the sound of breaking whitecaps, and the mixed aroma of a salt water breeze and hillside vegetation kept my attention from drifting to a radio discussion of a Supreme Court nomination.

I think I was jolted out of my daze by the adrenalin shot of taking a hairpin curve a bit too fast. Not long after, I realized how much my progressive sensory insensitivity is like my too-frequent spiritual insensitivity. Just as an incomparable view of God's creation became commonplace when my attention drifted to vain temporal affairs, so my heart's fixation wanders from the incomparable majesty of the knowledge of God sourced in His Word and the indwelling Spirit. When the initial captivation of God's grace wears off from time to time, I need the spiritual discipline to focus my attention on Him so that my awe is infused with renewed energy. I've exchanged all the treasures of the kingdom of heaven for a pocketful of pennies—and the pocket has a hole.

There is poetry in this concept. I will not be the one to mine it. I think Keith Green got pretty close in the lyrics to "Grace By Which I Stand":
Lord, the feelings are not the same.
I guess I'm older, I guess I've changed.
And how I wish it had been explained
That as you're growing you must remember.

That nothing lasts except the grace of God
By which I stand, in Jesus.
I know that I would surely fall away
Except for grace, by which I'm saved.

Lord, I remember that special way
I vowed to serve you, when it was brand new.
But like Peter, I can't even watch and pray
One hour with you, and I bet I could deny you too.

But nothing lasts except the grace of God
By which I stand, in Jesus.
I'm sure that my whole life would waste away
Except for grace, by which I'm saved.

But nothing lasts except the grace of God
By which I stand, in Jesus.
I know that I would surely fall away
Except for grace, by which I'm saved.

2 comments:

jon said...

My wife and I expereinced that ride a couple years ago and spent some time in Monterey...it has become one of our favorite places on the planet. Thanks for the memory and thanks for reminding me about the hairpin turns and life.

G-Knee said...

Great post. I agree. Sometimes I'm up and sometimes I'm not paying attention (read 'down'). I guess thats why we have to believe in progressive sanctification, because if I was to be G-Knee on my knees at 4am every morning...there would be no chance for me. Have a great Sunday, Paleo - G