Left Hanging

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Paul Harvey’s popular radio show was famous for providing the listener with “the rest of the story.”  Instead of being left hanging, the listener would have his burning question of “and then what happened?” answered by the broadcaster. Unfortunately, real life does not always mirror what happens in the media. Frustratingly, one is often left with an incomplete story.

Everyone has been in this position at one time or another.  You are engrossed in a movie and then it ends without all the loose ends having been tied up.  Did the couple get back together?  Was the plan successful? Cue the popularity of the sequel.  The audience is clamoring for more. They don’t want to be left hanging.  Of course, not all sequels are as successful as the original movie.  Sometimes moviegoers wish they had been left hanging instead of wishing to hang themselves having to endure watch the drivel contained in the sequel.

Even fairy tales are structured to meet the reader’s need to know the rest of the story.  Everyone knows that fairy tales end with the words, “And they lived happily ever after.”  Short on details, yes, but at least these well used words let the reader know that post The End events were positive in nature.

If I were an animal, logically I would be a cat based on my deep-seated need to know.  Curiosity about the “rest of the story” just kills me.  But my curiosity extends beyond the post The End events.  Sometimes I am captivated trying to figure out the events leading up to The End.  As my husband can readily attest, I often see something while we are out in the car, and I ask, “I wonder what happened?”  I will then proceed to offer various theories–“I wonder if this or that happened.” He doesn’t care, but I do.

Let me give you a real life example.  Just down the street from our house is a pair of sneakers hanging from some telephone wires.  They have been there for an extended period of time.  The fact that the shoes remain there to this day lets me know that they were not so valuable or meaningful to the owner to spur them to stage a rescue.  But why would you put shoes up on a wire?  And why at that particular spot?  There are telephone wires all over town.  Why choose this location?

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The “Once Upon A Time” part of the shoes story is much more interesting to me than The End.  I am not sure exactly what the conclusion is, but I suspect that it will not be nearly as interesting as how the shoes came to be there in the first place.  Either the shoes will remain until they are so battered by the weather that they fall apart and come down or the wire maintenance crew will take them down whenever they happen to be in that location and notice them.  The choices of resolution are pretty ho hum.

Since I must somehow satisfy my curiosity about the shoe situation, I have decided to come up with an explanation as to how we got to The End, i.e., shoes hanging on a telephone wire.  My story goes like this:

It was a dark and stormy night.  Snoopy wanted to get a good look at Bluewater Bay from the air because he heard that it had been developed by Germans.  He needed to assess the possible risk to the forces at nearby Eglin AFB.  Lucy had berated him earlier in the day for wearing his flying gear.  Well, hey, she didn’t look so swift in her new sneakers either.  “I’ll show her,” he thought.  When Lucy took her shoes off to dip her toes in Charlie Brown’s inflatable backyard pool, Snoopy stealthily grabbed Lucy’s sneakers and hid them in his dog house.  He forgot about them until he was flying over Valparaiso.  He was in a hurry to get back to the base and flew fast–a little too fast.  Things were flying out of his doghouse.  Oops! There went his supper bowl.  Uh, oh!  There went Lucy’s sneakers.  Ha! Saved by the wire.  The laces had caught on a telephone wire and left the footwear dangling above the road.  Snoopy had no time to retrieve the sneakers.  He was in a rush to get back prior to curfew so he’d have time to quaff a root beer before turning in.  I’ll just have to be in the doghouse with Lucy, he thought.  He had one too many root beers and totally forgot about Lucy’s sneakers which remain dangling over Valparaiso to this day.

This is my rest of the story.  In actuality it could be, and undoubtedly is, something entirely different.  While I can conjure up my own story to explain how the shoes came to be where they currently are, I’ll never know for sure.  I, like the sneakers, have been left hanging.

 

 

 

 

 

Band Of Brothers And Sisters

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What is it that bonds people together? Is it their genes? Their interests? A similar faith? The answer to all of those questions may be yes, but a stronger bond is forged by sharing uncommon experiences.

The best example of this strong bond is in the concept of a “band of brothers.” This phrase evokes an image of a group of fighting men facing danger and death together bringing them as close, if not closer, than having a blood tie. Anyone who has viewed a war movie has certainly seen this concept brought to life. The plot will involve some military unit composed of individuals from vastly different backgrounds and locations; however, a unique and strong bond is forged among them because of their experiences together. They may have known each other for only a short time, but they are willing to give their lives for one another.

This bond between fighting men is not a new concept devised to up the drama in a war movie. The concept has been around for hundreds of years. Shakespeare referenced it in “Henry V” which contains the lines:

“We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;

For he today that sheds his blood with me shall be my brother….”

Never having been a military member in a battle situation, I just could not grasp the depth and strength that a band of brothers has. There was no doubt from watching or reading about a wartime group that such a bond exists, but I simply did not comprehend just what the bond was.  It took a personal battle to show me what such a bond is and how it was formed.

No, I didn’t join the military or participate in any armed conflict.  Instead I went to a different continent on a ten day trip with a mission team from my church.  How in the world, you are thinking, does that compare to participating in a real life military battle?  Strangely enough, although the settings are entirely different, the resulting bond between team members would qualify us to be called a “band of brothers and sisters.”

What brings people together is facing difficult and out of the ordinary situations.  Those situations are etched in our brains and our hearts along with the people with whom we shared them.  There is no denying that going to a foreign country where you don’t speak the language, where you are asked to do things out of your comfort zone, where you are faced with pushing beyond your limits, and where you have to match your walk with your talk is just such a situation.  You can’t get out of the situation; you have no choice but to get into it, and you do so with your team by your side.

In November of 2016 I traveled with ten other people on a mission trip to the heart of Ecuador.  I had never met most of our group until we were preparing for the trip.  Our team members were of varying ages, backgrounds, occupations and personalities.  But our profiles and our past were not what led us to bond together, and they certainly did not keep us apart.

Being in the middle of nowhere in the center of Ecuador in the foothills of the Andes, we were thrust into situations that made us uncomfortable, i.e., standing up in front of a group of strangers and baring our souls about past hurts, being required to communicate with people who did not speak our language, participating in physical activities that literally scared us, putting into action what our faith really means, etc.  Team members were asked to push themselves beyond their limits (or at least what we thought were our limits) to accomplish something positive for the good of others.   The battles were real, but they were not necessarily external.

In actuality, the battles we fought were with ourselves.  We had to fight against our fears, self-doubts, pride, and selfishness.  And we had loving, caring team members alongside to see us through it.  No blood was shed (although a knee was messed up, a back was hurt and a voice was lost), but we did give it our all to share the news about Jesus shedding His blood.

Our team has returned from the trip, but we did not leave our love for each other and the bond we had forged at the airport.  Even though we do not all live close geographically, we are still close emotionally.  We are still there for each other even if it is not in person. What’s App allows us to instantly communicate to share our needs, triumphs, emotions, etc.  We are still, and always will be, a team–a band of brothers and sisters.