Painting ©2018 John Clark III
Marveling today at the wide open spaces and warm, friendly faces along historic Route 66 as I headed east to west across Oklahoma and crossed into the great state of Texas.
I feel completely at home anywhere inside the Lone Star State, and Oklahoma is a close second.
That familiar, comfortable feeling, however, was undercut today by news of the shootings in Charleston, South Carolina.
I was stunned by the reports I heard this morning. I could have turned off the car radio or switched to some music and ignored the bad news as I explored part of the history of this great country and basked in the freedom of the open road, but I didn't. I didn't want to.
A few years ago, I wrote a book called "Finding God in Texas," and it includes stories from people I interviewed all across the state about whether they believe in God, heaven and hell, etc., and why they believe whatever it is they believe. I just did a radio interview a few days ago about my latest book, "Destination Unknown: What Happens To Us When We Die?", which includes people from all over the world discussing their views on what comes next after this life, if anything.
This morning, I was listening to former presidential candidate Herman Cain's radio program, and of course he was talking about the nine people who were unbelievably gunned down at a Bible-study class at their church. Cain, a guy who I mostly respect, said something to the effect that although the murders were horrible and tragic and yadda, yadda, yadda, everything is part of God's plan, and even though we don't understand such things, someday our questions will be answered.
When people say that, it really pisses me off.
What could possibly be the purpose of nine innocent, God-loving people being slaughtered? Inside God's house, reading and studying his book, trying to be closer to him? Tell me how that makes any sense. Why would an all-loving God allow something like that to happen?
Why didn't God flatten that guy's tires as he drove to the church, with hate in his heart, murder on his mind, and a gun in his pocket? God knew what was fixin' to happen, right? Why didn't he change something in that guy's heart, as he sat there with those people for an hour during Bible study? Why didn't he give him a heart attack? What possible purpose could there be to sitting back and watching him pull out that gun and fire hot bullets into the bodies of those terrified people?
Sorry, I ain't buying the belief that it's part of God's plan. If it is, that's a really shitty plan.
OK, off the soap box now.
Today was a good day along ol' Route 66. I stopped just outside Weatherford, Oklahoma, at the former site of Lucille's, and happened to meet 67-year-old Army vet Greg Lewis from Minnesota.
Lewis, a Yuma, Arizona native, was riding a BMW motorcycle along Route 66, traveling south from Minnesota, where he lives now after retiring from the military, and picking up the Mother Road at El Reno, Oklahoma. So far, he had cruised 900 miles, and wasn't exactly sure where he would end up.
"My dad was career Air Force. As a kid, I have been up and down 66, when I was 10-12 years old. The Air Force has a lot of bases up and down this route. I'm fond of it.
"Usually, I'm balls-to-the-wall up and down I-40. This time, I don't care how far I go every day, I'm just having a good time."
Indeed. At some points, Route 66 runs alongside the Interstate, where cars and trucks and 18-wheelers are hurriedly headed to whatever destination, but the old route can really take you back to a simpler time. A better time?
A few reviews of John's books
The 30-Day Optimism Solution:
“Part memoir, part informative text. You get both when reading 'Depression Blues' by John H. Clark III. Mr. Clark shares his struggles with depression in an honest and real way, and as the book progresses, so does his hope. Woven into the story as jumping off points are bits of information about depression and ways to "conquer" the sadness, loneliness, and despair that comes with it.
Mr. Clark becomes more than an author in this book; he becomes a friend who understands the pain of depression and provides light. I recommend this book to anyone looking for light or to anyone who knows someone with depression and wants to learn more.”
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