Posted by: Ed Deiss | March 19, 2013

I go there with You

What street do you live on?  What part of town do you live?  Which neighborhood?  Common questions with known answers. Can name all the streets I lived on growing up.  Know the neighborhoods, still in touch with former neighbors.  Relationships that have endured over time.    Streets and neighborhoods are part of who we are; I have had many conversations where I have enjoyed going there with someone as they spoke about it, even though I have never been.  As many of you have read my blog posts and gone there with me, given the chance certainly I go there with you.   

Streets and neighborhoods also represent divisions.  Be it economics, ethnicity, religion; they are there.  Just name a street or neighborhood in the city/country you live and you likely have an idea of the demographics.  As I shared in an earlier post about being a TCK, growing up as a minority in a country that became home gave me experiences, relationships, and perspectives that I would never have gained otherwise.  What I learned was that when it came to getting to know others and forging relationships made through school, church, or neighbors, these divisions, akin to arbitrary walls, are broken down.     

As Easter Sunday approaches, have thought about how great it would be  to go and be somewhere where everyone comes together; barriers and divisions between people are broken down and we get to know each other and relate about things that matter to us all.  What would not matter are street names and neighborhoods in which we lived.  I know it when I see it and when I do, what a witness it is.  In fact, just saw it the other night. 

Here we go, March Madness is about to get underway.  It has been 30 years since Coach Jim Valvano’s NC State squad pulled off a miracle and won the National Championship.  If you have not seen “Survive and Advance” (ESPN 30 for 30) about that team, it is quite moving.   The names were familiar, and faces as well.  That image of Lorenzo Charles dunking Dereck Whittenburg’s shot to win it all will not be forgotten. 

Though basketball brought them together, what I saw was former teammates and coaches from different walks off life never once mention their street or neighborhood, rather they laughed, put purposeful thought behind their actions, and were in touch with their emotions.  It was real.  Their authentic bonds were obvious, brought home at the end with Dereck Whittenburg looking at the rafters with tears rolling down his face as he thought about his coach, his friends, and what they all learned and experienced together.  What was also obvious was how much they cared for one another and loved their coach.  They were a reflection of him and as he said at his unforgettable 1993 ESPY speech before he died of cancer,

To me, there are three things we all should do every day. We should do this every day of our lives. Number one is laugh. You should laugh every day. Number two is think. You should spend some time in thought. And number three is, you should have your emotions moved to tears, could be happiness or joy. But think about it. If you laugh, you think, and you cry, that’s a full day. That’s a heck of a day. You do that seven days a week, you’re going to have something special.”

Thank you for letting me go there with you, guys.

Experience it myself each Sunday here in Richmond.  My church home is in the inner city, a multidenominational church where I worship alongside people of  different nationalities, races, and socioeconomic backgrounds.  Not named after a street, rather a timeless place.  Where we live and our ethnicities and have no bearing on how we relate to each other.  Our blood is red. In many ways reminds of my church home in Singapore.  Can’t wait to be there again next Sunday.      

With my pastor, can't put into words what he has meant to me

With my pastor, can’t put into words what he has meant to me

There is a band that I listen to often that is the only Irish in me.  Their passion for their faith, love for their fellow man, and love for what they do with their gifts pauses me to think and moves my emotions.   They encourage me in my faith and make me realize “He set my feet upon a rock, And made my footsteps firm, Many will see, Many will see and fear.”*  It serves as a reminder that “Only love, only love can leave such a mark. But only love, only love can heal such a scar”**  

As Easter is celebrated around the world, a song that comes to mind for me is not heard in churches on Easter Sunday, nor can you find it in the hymnals.  It speaks to a place that I refer to with my kids where I look forward going, and they know exactly what I mean.  Inspired by a story about the streets of Belfast, Northern Ireland where a person’s religion and income are evident by the street they live on.  As the opening  crescendo plays and the guitar transitions in, I imagine the gates of heaven opening and a spectacular experience to come.  Every time I hear it, my emotions are moved. 

Seeing U2 play this in their home country of Ireland, I can only imagine what it will be like to go there, namely where the streets have no name.    I go there with you.

“And he departed from our sight that we might return to our heart, and there find Him.  For He departed, and behold, He is here.” ~St Augustine

Happy Easter and until next time,

Ed

* Lyrics from ’40’

**Lyrics from ‘Magnificent’

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Responses

  1. Ed,

    Another wonderful post. Love the writing about Valvano. I just recently watched a bunch of stuff on ESPN about that championship 30 years ago. Please have a blessed Easter and all my best to you & yours.

    Peace,
    Your cousin,
    Gil

  2. Thank you Gil and great to speak to you this week. You all have a blessed Easter as well.


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