DESCENT INTO MADNESS (Wait, I mean Monday) May 18, 2020
I have been reminded several times that Mount St. Helens erupted 40 years ago today. What caught me by surprise was that several folks thought President Harry Truman died that day. But no, it was Harry R. Truman, a sort of notorious bootlegger, poacher, and all around scoff-law who very publicly ridiculed the warnings and evacuation orders that had been issued for weeks prior to the mountain blowing its top. In some circles he became, and maybe still is, a folk hero for his refusal to submit to “government tyranny.” To me he is proof positive that you can spit in the face of society and common sense but not mother nature.
And although I wouldn’t have wished him harm, I don’t particularly mourn the fact that he got his way, consequences and all. “I did it (gonna do it, you dayyum well cannot tell me not to do it) my way…” may well be an American anthem of sorts, but I can’t help but wonder about the 56 other people who died that day, or soon after. Of course every one of them had their own story. Maybe they were pressing their luck, deliberately making some dodgy decisions. Or maybe they were ignorant of the danger and just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. The answers to that are beyond me.
But I read another news story today, about two young women whose bodies were recently found several weeks after they disappeared, in their car, sunk up to its roof in a swamp, filled with empty beer containers, with the onboard computer showing they were travelling 103 mph when they struck a curb on a curve and launched themselves not quite into space.
Both stories remind me of how often God has bailed me out of dumb situations I’ve gotten myself into, AND leave me wondering why it doesn’t always turn out that way. Maybe it is a warning to me not to be stupid. But then again, who is going to define stupid for me, if I’m not willing to listen to suggestion? And what if the suggestions others present to me are themselves dumb ideas? This has got me thinking about my childhood hero, Davey Crockett (to be honest, not the man himself but Fess Parker pretending to be him): I leave this rule for others when I’m dead, Be always sure you’re right – THEN GO AHEAD! If only we could be sure…
Grace and peace to you all in trying to figure that out!