Friday, July 28, 2006

there is this silence in the badlands...

When I was a kid my family used to drive 1200 miles every summer to visit my grandmother, often without stopping at a hotel. It’s true what they say about your other senses becoming heightened when you lose your vision. There are road noises that you don’t notice during the day. Whether it be because of the radio, or conversation, or just because you’re not paying attention, road noises often go completely unnoticed in the daytime. But at night I would hear each noise distinctly and, like music, some of those noises still take me back

I’ve been very ill this week. In fact, I’m supposed to be in Amsterdam speaking at a camp right now. Instead I’m lying here in my bed wondering how much of this I can actually get typed down before nature calls and I have to make my next visit to what has lately become my second home.

And as I laid here trying to read, I heard what sounded like the noise that tires make on a really loud highway. I’m not talking about a highway with bumps in it. Just one of those highways that gives off a high pitched hum when tires travel on them. It’s a noise that I distinctly remember hearing at night while I was in the back of the family car, trying to sleep. It made me remember how much I miss road trips. I finally looked out my bedroom window to see what it was, but it was only a tow truck picking up a stranded vehicle. Still, it was a nice memory trigger.

Several years ago I made a road trip of my own. I took three weeks and drove across the country (U.S.). And though I missed my wife, it was one of the most amazing and spiritual experiences of my life. One that I will never forget and one that I hope to have again one day. I started in Pennsylvania and drove south through West Virginia, and Maryland to visit some family I had in Virginia. Then south again to visit a friend in Nashville. Then west through Arkansas (much prettier than I had imagined) to visit the place where I grew up, Oklahoma City. Then northwest through Texas, and New Mexico to visit with a friend and some new found family members (half brother and two half sisters) in Colorado.

From there I was on my own for the rest of the trip.

I drove up to the northwest corner of Wyoming where I spent several days in the Grand Tetons (I totally recommend) and Yellowstone. An area of the country that has to be seen to be believed. I then skimmed the Montana border as I drove West. I had always wanted to see Montana and I was not disappointed. In fact, I returned there a year later with my wife. From there I continued west to South Dakota where I visited Mt. Rushmore, Sturgis, Devil’s Tower, and the place that had been the inspiration for the entire trip, The Badlands.

I’ve shared before on this blog that music may be the one pleasure in life that drives me most. Though I was too big a coward to try and actually pursue music on a professional level, I have music in my life everyday and tend to be drawn to others who are passionate about it (Thus my stop in Nashville). So one day I picked up a CD with various artists on it. The CD was a tribute CD to the late Rich Mullens. Rich Mullens is one of those guys whose name you might not know, but whose music you definitely do (Awesome God). On the CD was a song called Calling Out Your Name (it’s the song playing over on the right). It was covered by Chris Rice. And in it is the line, “There is this silence in The Badlands.” I had never been to the Badlands or even seen a picture of it, but I knew at that moment that I had to see it. And so I decided to plan a road trip to do so. That road trip turned into a three week pilgrimage across the United States. There is some irony and some symbolism (that not everybody will find so obvious) in the fact that The Badlands was my last major stop of the trip. And I have to tell you that Rich was right, after almost three weeks on the road, there is this silence in The Badlands.

Calling Out Your Name continues to be one of my all time favourite songs and that road trip an experience I hope to, one day, have again.

The picture above is from that trip. It’s a self taken photo of me (about 40 lbs. heavier) in the badlands. It was meant to be my album cover. : )

p.s. I had to include this second picture just to show off how gnarly my goatee was. : )

Comments on "there is this silence in the badlands..."


Blogger Carrie said ... (10:40 PM) : 

Very inspirational story Tim. I have always thought how I would love to just drive across the country (alone) for weeks and visit new places, old friends and again some of the places I've been before and loved so much. Although being a female I've always been to chicken to travel alone. But reading your story made it feel as if I was right there on the same trip.

Hope you are over your illness and feeling better soon.

Carrie (Wood) Shirley


Blogger My2BoysNMe said ... (12:59 AM) : 

Cool thing about your story - I've met Rich Mullins. Back in high school we would go on CIY trips and church skiing trips, etc. I remember TWICE we were lucky enough to have Mr. Mullins grace us. I THINK I still have pictures of him (of course, not with me since I took the pictures and hey, we didn't know back then!) - he even was one of our smaller group leaders at one conference in Colorado. He was an awesomely talented man! Loved him back then and still have his songs (including Calling Out Your Name) on my playlists (my fav is probably Step By Step). FYI, he also wrote alot for Amy Grant back then and wrote Sing Your Praise To The Lord (and played all the fancy piano in that one too - WHICH I got to hear live!).
I hate to hear that you're so sick that you've missed your speech/camp thing! I hope you feel better soon! Lots of love from the US and go have some.......chicken kabob soup and some.......7UP.....pastry??? lol Get better soon!


Blogger Larry said ... (4:48 AM) : 

I still love Maine and the rest of New England. Although the country in Colorado and Utah takes my breath away as well.

Well feel better. I will email you later.


Blogger Cari said ... (4:17 PM) : 

I've got so many memories of family road trips to Colorado and Canada I couldn't begin to write them. Colorado is my favorite place in the world, even though my world-view is quite small. When I'm there it's like the Rockies lift me closer to God. It's my sanctuary, and I get a feeling there like none other, which is probably why I cry every time I leave the Rockies, watching the mountains get smaller in my rearview. I love the Jars of Clay song "If I stand". Great driving song. I also love Crying out Your Name.

Gnarly beard. That's the second worse facial hair display I've ever seen, topped only by a drunk in the emergency room.

Get better!! Lots of water!! I'm working at Falls Creek this week in the First Aid station. Lots of heat stuff and gastro stuff. I recommend 7-up, Chx soup and crackers. Prayers for ya!


Blogger Cari said ... (4:19 PM) : 

I meant Calling Out Your Name. Duh.


Blogger Brandon said ... (1:57 AM) : 

I never liked Rich Mullins until after he died. Sounds awful, but I just never liked his voice enough to listen to his words. My favorite song of his is "Hold Me Jesus." It is one of the few songs by any artist that really resonates with me. "Surrender don't come natural to me. I'd rather fight you for something I don't really want than to take what you give and I need." How many times have I been there. Thank God for grace. Hope that all is well with you and you are over your ailment. Sounded fun. ; )

PS: Some of my best trips have been loner trips. Most of my international trips have been on my own. Talk about good times for reflection.


Blogger shaun said ... (6:54 PM) : 

i'm way behind on reading of your exploits but after reading this the other day i returned to some old Rich Mullins music. He remains a spiritual hero of mine and the Lord often uses his testimony to call me back to parts of my heart that are easy to forget while focusing so much on my studies. If you haven't heard the CD's that were put out after his death (the Jesus Record) you should pick it up. It has some of his demos as well as remakes of the same demos by his friends. Also included (which is the point) is a song he didn't write but loved called "Man of No Reputation". It is told that Rich couldn't listen to it without crying and I'll be darned if I didn't weep over my Sunday lunch yesterday when it came up on the stereo (Danielle thinks I'm a big baby). I hope you are feeling better.


Blogger surrendered said ... (5:47 AM) : 

that goatee is ridiculous. hope you're doing well. :) when i get to heaven, i want to do a songwriters' night with just me, keith and rich. I'll see if they're up for you joining in.


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