Kansas--Dust In The Wind
As a high school sophmore, I didn't understand this song when it first came out in 1977 reminding the world of mortality. I sat next to Doug on the bus on our way to a marching band event of some kind while he and a bunch of the other senior brass players were passing around album covers and studying liner notes. Doug was a great fellow, and I knew that there was something more to him than just good morals. I also believed in good morals, but something was missing. I also respected Doug for setting a high standard for our band performances and always getting stuff right. Always. If I had questions, Doug was the "go-to guy". Back then, I kept most of my questions to myself. But Doug was sitting there with the Kansas "Point of Know Return" cover, and I finally asked him what the "Dust"song meant. He referred to a couple of verses in the bible and tied it together about how brief life can be. He pointed to the album cover design and explained some 0f the symbolism there about God.
This was before contemporary Christian rock being popular, actually most of it was pretty crappy. For someone to slip in spiritual imagery into a rock song, it was considered radical especially when most evangelicals hated the very idea of a drum beat. Also, back then, most high schoolers didn't have a lot of pocket money to spend. We passed things around and borrowed from each other. If you liked something, you shared it with your friends and you talked about it. And that's how I knew that "Dust in the Wind" was more than a pretty song.
Six months later, Doug asked me out for pizza. I wasn't allowed to date until I was 16, and so Doug was my very first date. Our conversation turned to spiritual things and I told him I wasn't sure if there was a God. I asked him how he knew. Doug was shocked. He assumed because I went to the Catholic church down the block from his Baptist church that I was a believer in Christ like he was. I wore a cross around my neck all the time. But I wore it because it was a gift from a relative when I was born, that's all. Since Doug was a righteous dude and didn't believe in missionary dating (when he said that, I had no idea what he was talking about), he took me home rather quickly. I was confused about that date, not knowing what I did wrong to "blow it". Nowdays, I'm pretty impressed and understand how Doug made a prudent decision at this point. Thank God.
Five months after that, my questions led to belief in the Gospel, (but I still wasn't sure how to follow Jesus--another story how God helped me out with that). I started to read the bible on my own and finally understood what Doug was referring to when he answered my questions about a hauntingly truthful rock song.
"The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
Slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness.
He will not always strive with us;
Nor will He keep His anger forever.
He has not dealt with us according to our sins,
Nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
So great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him.
As far as the east is from the west,
So far has He removed our transgressions from us.
Just as a father has compassion on his children,
So the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him.
For He Himself knows our frame;
He is mindful that we are but dust.
As for man, his days are like grass;
As a flower of the field, so he flourishes.
When the wind has passed over it, it is no more;
And its place acknowledges it no longer."
Once, I ran into Doug's mom at a discount store in my home town. I introduced myself and told her that I knew Doug from school. I found her to be warm and she seemed to know me already. I wondered if she had prayed for me, since things came together spiritually pretty quickly after that date.
Although Doug did not intend to spend time with me on that pizza date to witness to me, God used him in my life for His purposes. Ten years after that date, Dennis and I got married in the Baptist church that Doug grew up in. I believe that God showed me His compassion and graciousness throughout my love life. Even in the middle of what seemed like a harsh rejection.