In Vietnam we had a saying we would tack onto the end of our hope and dreams. We would say; “When I get back to the “real world.” I believe that we must have seen Vietnam as some sort of suspended reality… you know, a place where natural laws don’t work anymore. It was a place where some Leviathans were loose and running all over the place wreaking havoc wherever and whenever they could. At a time when least expected it would zap young soldiers in their tracks… blow them to pieces and steal them from their families, their lives, their futures. In a movie I would expect to see fog all over the place in this fantasy land… to depict how unreal this place has become. Things happen here that don’t happen anywhere else in the world… unreal things!
The “Real World” is home where you love and are loved, where your real family resides… where you feel safe. You grew up there… know the people… the streets and shops, churches, schools and ball parks. Where you spent summers playing ball or up at the lake with all your friends. It is a place you know and love and understand… where hopes and dreams are lived out… you fall in love, marry, have kids, build a home and a career… become part of the community. It is a place that matters to you and you matter to that place. The real world is a place filled with vivid memories of relationship formations – you becoming the person you now have become.
The problem with being over there is… in the unreal monstrous world of Vietnam… with its Leviathans running amuck… what happens over there affects what happens back in the real world. If you get blown apart over there you don’t come back to the real world alive. If you see too much, do too much or have too much done unto you… you just may bring that evil back home in the form of Post Traumatic Stress. If you were in areas where agent orange was used to defoliate the jungle you just may bring back to the real world some pretty bad health problems… which may not show up for several years. Some put it like this: “I was killed in Vietnam. I just haven’t died yet.”
Yesterday we remembered those who fell in battle… who gave their lives for this country. Today we are back to today’s real world circumstance in which we are living. Some of you guys are facing pretty serious things here in the real world. Sometimes we would just love to live in a fantasy fun-time Disney movie… but that is not the real world either. The real world is where we live, move and have our being. It is where we love and are loved. It is where we are surrounded by the love and the grace of God.
I pray you will experience God’s real presence here in the real world.
Grace and Peace