I recently visited the Grand Canyonâ€™s North Rim, and I saw mystery as I looked over the rim down into the immense, eroded and multicolored scenery before me. I am fond of the writings of John Muir, and when he described such places as the Grand Canyon he wrote that it is emotionally healthy to enjoy spending time in such wild mysterious places. But these places can also be places where people get strangely confused. Some examples of confusion at the Grand Canyon are to start hiking one of the trails and not be fully prepared with water, fitness, or knowledge about canyon weather and heat. Confusion like this could bring the park visitor negative outcomes.
How then can a person enjoy the healthy benefits of mystery without falling into the risky practices of confusion? I like thinking of the beauty of good relationships like I think of the Grand Canyon. I canâ€™t explain about the mystery that has linked my wife and me together in our marriage and family for over 25 years. But the mystery is real and I can enjoy walking in its effects when I am with my wife and even when deployed.
I experience pain though when I am confused in my relationship with my wife. When we struggle with lack of commitment, surface communication and intimacy, unwise problem solving, insecurity, and lack of faith and hope we need to work through these confusions and restore our healthy relationship. And those just starting relationships should have clear goals in mind for what high quality person they want to spend time with in order to avoid confusion from the start.
My prayer for Marines and Sailors and their relationships is that they will be able to experience healthy mystery. But itâ€™s important not to mistake complication and confusion for mystery. And when relationships encounter confusion may those involved in the confusion choose to change direction back to a clearer path of truthful healthy relationship basics. The Apostle Paul in his love chapter in his first letter to the Corinthians wrote about some of these relationship basics, â€œLove suffers long and is kindâ€¦does not behave rudely, does not seek its own.â€