Break-ups and Break-downs



Break ups. Relationships. In the age of divorce. Break downs. Over and over.

Sex. Religion. Relationships. The highest rating Ted Koppel “Nightline” show ever had was the Jim and Tammy Faye Baker focus. When Jim got caught having an affair.

Good Friday. I was there in the Philippines a few years back. I had a guy from Canada approach me in the Cebu City airport. He wanted to know where to stay and he spotted my travel guide. We shared a taxi into town with another American. And he proceeded to tell his exploits about sex that he had had in over 6 weeks in the country. Every night a different woman. Why they would let this slimeball touch them, I did not know. Survival of the species. I soon discovered that it was because of poverty, because of the survival of their families. In places where unemploment reached 50%.

Good Friday and actual crucifixions. There was an actual place in the Philippines where I could go to witness someone being nailed to a cross on Good Friday. The Christian churches highly discouraged this. But every year about 5 or 6 guys go ahead with a real enactment of what a lawyer would call wrongful detention, followed by wrongful termination. On Good Friday. At first I was gonna go on this 90 mile trip. Until I gave it some thought.

A Marine asking to get help is a pretty rare thing. A request for help by a Marine is an admission of failure. No one wanted to be a drag on his company. Someone who is suffering is not a big help to the military. You better pay attention if you ever witness such an event. Breakdowns.

They happened in every war in history. People did not like to talk about them. It was all about relationships.

Good Friday. 1987. It was all about relationships. Being human. My ninety-year old grandfather was being cared for by his 86-year old wife. And her care was keeping him out of a nursing home. He was a wonderful man but at about this stage of life some of the demons that had laid low from his infantry days in World War I came out. I remember making a Holy Saturday call to check in my my grandfather and there was terror in my grandmother’s voice. I was at their home after a 90 mile ride in no time. He had threatened violence for the first time in his 60-some year marriage. Something had to be done.

Break ups and break downs. Over and over. A Marine asking to get help is pretty rare. A Marine asking for help, is admitting failure. Someone who is suffering is not a big help to the military. A drag on your company.

This post traumatic stress syndrome could never be escaped. It would be with us always. When there were wars.

Relationships. Broken. survival. Redeployed. The wounded. This was just not gonna work. This sending the weak, the cripples back to war. Those ravaged in spirit once.

Reactivated. Redeployed. I saw “Frontline” last night on PBS. The show was all about post traumatic stress syndrome. It made me think of my grandfather’s youngest great grandson. The kid was more than 100 years younger than his great-grandfather. And I thought about one of these Iraq War veterans. He looked younger than 20. He had been a 4-year old once like my grandfather’s youngest great-grandson.

It got me pretty personally charged, this show. I wanted to do something. About broken spirits.

Break ups. Relationships. In the age of divorce. Break downs. Over and over. Good Friday and the actual Crucifixion.

Breaking up. And coming back…over and over and over. The relationship thing. It never seemed easy. In Salvation history. God and His relationships. The personal ones. There had always been a lot of break ups in relationships.

The Torah recorded the history of His relationship with the Chosen People. Things never really changed.

Break ups. With a mate. With God. Over and over and over. It never seemed easy. And the story was one long never ending sequel of failure.

Relationships. Broken. Some survived.

It was the same question as the war in Iraq. Whose fault was this? Clearly it was the pentagon when one of our sons was redeployed, with PSST.

Or in the case of relationships, it was all about the Creator. We never asked for this Good Friday venue. To be so strong or to end up so weak.

It was all about relationships. Being human.

On Friday, it looked like it was over for good. The last clear chance. The Messiah. He came. He went. He died like all of us. So what was the big deal?

Not even the Messiah survived all of this. An artist wanting to destroy his own creation? A lot like Abraham? Likeness: what we had become? Was this a similar perspective of Michelangelo, when he destroyed his Pieta? Or the perspective of an old-time baseball guy? Or a retired professional golfer, at the end of life, about the world of Tiger Woods? “What had I help create?” Humans with the frailties of human nature. With God in the story. Jesus came to be a carpenter? What was the meaning of all that, with God in the story? At the end of life, like the self-portrait of Michelangelo, wanting to destroy this work of art which he had worked on for 33-years of his life? Was that the Good Friday story? And now, on Good Friday, a fitting ending, to what looked to have been the Messiah, to God’s disappointment in relationship?

The relationship thing. With a mate. With God. One long never ending sequel of failure. And God and His Indifference to suffering?



The Son of David allegedly willing to give his life for his people. The Son of David, with an informed consent which Isaac never had. Behold the humanity, in this moment just like when David might have thought that he never was coming back. You knew the ending that he never did at the time. It is a much better story when you do not know, living in the moment, the end of the story.

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