I was on a flight from Nashville to Detroit today on my way home from a conference (yes it is that time of year again). I was sitting next to a lady and we struck up a conversation - she saw the Nouwen book I was finishing and asked about it. Of course I was more than happy to share what God had been teaching me though it. (See my earlier post for more on Nouwen) As we spoke I asked where she had been and what had her traveling today. With a catch in her voice from obvious emotion she began to explain that she had traveled down to Ft Campbell, Kentucky for a memorial service for her nephew who had been killed in Iraq. She told of how wonderful the military folks had been in honoring him and how hard it was for the family. As we spoke and it became apparent that she was a Christian and you could see a bit of peace there in the midst of the pain.
As I thought about the reality of pain it reminded me of a quote by John Eldredge from the live seminar based on his book The Sacred Romance, "Have you forgotten - maybe you haven't heard. Your address used to be paradise. History did not begin with sin, it began with Eden - picture Maui at sunset with your dearest love. Your soul does not live in the habitat for which it was made." We do not live where we should and part of the reality of the fallen world is that life hurts. When we experience loss and death it hurts - it hurts because something in us that was created for something greater cries out against it say "THIS IS NOT THE WAY IT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE!" Just as pain in our body tells us something is wrong, when pain hits our soul it is symptom that all is not right. The effects of sin have once again hit and caused one I love to not be here with me.
The reality of sin in a fallen world is that death steals those we love. Sometimes it is death in a very real sense but other time it is the slow small death of hurt and betrayal, of cold and callous actions, of self centered decisions that slowly drive us from those we love. Years ago in a bible study a friend said the simple but profound phrase "death equals separation". As I look back that may have been one of the most transforming statements in my understanding of the affects of my fallenness. I will hurt those I love and they will hurt me. Death will take some of them from me. It will hurt. The hurt is OK. God is still working in it to create in me the person I am becoming.
Commit with me to focus on the relationships that matter. As we nurture them and care for those we love may the "little death" that comes from sin be overcome in our lives. May God work in our relationships that we may be his body and light in this world. May we truly be connected people. The enemy wants us lonely, frightened and scared. Christ came that we may reconnect with the Father and each other. It is what we were created for. It is the first step back to paradise!
DanFather - be with the family of that soldier. Wrap them in your arms, bathe them with your peace. May they experience joy that passes all understanding and may the continue to be molded into the people you have created them to become. - Amen