Surreal. That's the word for yesterday, the 16th of September. Voicemails barraging the phones, emails and texts intruding faster than could be read, and facebook comments--all asking the same thing: Is everybody ok? Hmmm. . . let's check the systems. . . I'm not in Mexico or Colorado being swept away by flash floods. There's no fire out of control headed into the cul-de-sac. Better turn on the telly.
Oh, now I get it. Mass murder at the Navy Yard, in line of sight, it seems, of where the Nationals were to keep post-season hope alive by burying the Braves later that day. But it was not to be. Three? No, only two? No, again, maybe just one gunman had plans for another kind of burial. In addition to his, 12 other families received the worst news possible before turning in for the night. My guess? No real turning in occurred--just tossing and turning and tears.
I should have remained fixed on that scene, as I suppose most of DC did. But I didn't, though. I found myself captivated by 6 cars not normally in my neighborhood and the 8 police officers they brought with them. While the nation's capital was immersed in questions of multiple shooters and "Was this an act of terrorism?", much more quietly on my street another living thing was dying that wouldn't make the news--a relationship between husband and wife. And I couldn't help but think about their wedding and how much in love they had to have been then and wonder, "How'd they get to this point? Where did things start to go off the rails?"
And then I remembered. God told us everything we need to know about relationships and how hard they would be to pull off successfully after the rebellion in the garden. The basic operating system we all bring to the table when we arrive on the planet? How can I manipulate you, control you, use you, twist you, pressure you, coerce you, frustrate you, tease you, lead you, force you, tempt you, abuse you for my own selfish interests. I'll hang with you as an acquaintance, as a BFF, as a romantic interest only if I'm getting what I want. When I don't, I'm outta here. Yeah, it's why most marriages end. It's why most that don't are not all that happy. It's why people who are afraid of failure decide to just live together first. But, of course, the stats prove that this doesn't help. In fact, the divorce rate is 50% higher still for couples who live together first. Relationships are hard.
But, with grimness all around me, the day ended with the video above that restored joy and hope. After weeks of sacrifice and energy, the little outside playhouse was ready for the grand unveiling to our twin granddaughters. The project was motivated by my wife and daughter's love for those two girls. Painting, making little blankets for the dolls, a little tea party table and all the accompaniments. And the recurring theme you hear is this: "It's so beautiful!" Yeah, it was. Because when love, real love is expressed--not that cheap "I'm gonna get mine"--but the real thing flowing out of a heart that just has to give no matter what, it really is so beautiful.
And I was reminded that it's possible, through Jesus, to break the curse. Reminded that relationships don't have to fall apart, don't have to result in tragedy, don't have to end in anger or rage or bullets or a barricade. They do, I know, but they don't have to.
At The Surge we love doing things together... that includes writing a blog! Here are a few of our main contributing authors:
Our fearless leader, Dwaine is the lead pastor at The Surge. His experience in counter terrorism with the CIA prepared him for ministry and he likes dogs and babies even more than E does.
E (short for Eric Reiss) is the Wingman at The Surge and likes dogs, music, Mexican food, his wife Karen and his little girl Evangeline... not necessarily in that order.