We were sitting on the dock on a sunny 4th of July afternoon.  Some held a book in their hand (I’m reading a biography of Dwight David Eisenhour).  Others were scrolling through their phones.  Music was gently playing in the background.  Every once in a while, a neighbor would pause to chat for a few minutes.  We were winding down with our niece and her husband after the busy and fun weekend.
It was then that one of the scrollers read about the shooting in Highland Park, IL.  Events like these are very difficult for me to fathom … senseless shooting and killing.  Thankfully, by the time we were ready to leave the dock and figure out dinner, the “person of interest” was in police custody.  Since then, each day as provided additional information.
While this was all taking place in Illinois, Mount Clemens suddenly emerged with its own gunman story!  Gratiot Avenue was shut down and a multi-block area filled with an assortment of high-tech police vehicles and apparatus.  The gunman was said to be in a condo on Clinton Street behind Three Blind Mice.  That is the statement that claimed our full attention.
The gunman was in the same building where one of our sons’ lives.  He was on the dock with us, but, had he been home, he would have been trapped.  His doorbell camera, etc. revealed an empty front porch and that all was well with his condo.  Additional community monitors were scanned for updates.  Eventually we saw two officers come to his door and then leave.
After things had calmed down and the individual apprehended without much violence (the suspect received a bullet wound in his arm), a couple missed phone calls with a Mount Clemens number were noticed.  Our son called the number and a friendly detective answered.  How they got his cell number I do not know, but they were simply calling to make sure he was OK.
I found it ironic that while I was reading about General Patton’s tanks in Germany following D-day, we were also talking about tanks deployed outside our son’s condo.  This certainly was not our usual “dock talk” stuff.  And then we heard another story.
Our son told the tale of a summer evening when he lived at the east (or is it north?) end of the River Walk in Detroit.  As the Tiger ballgame was about to begin, there was a commotion in the apartment above his.  He heard a very loud thumping on a door, and then shouts of, “Police.  We’re coming in.”  This was followed by another voice yelling, “I’m not going back to jail.”  Then he heard the sound of breaking glass, and the next thing he knew, he saw two legs dangling outside his 2nd story window.  They passed by his apartment to the next, and then the man lost his grip and fell to the ground.  Joel showed us a picture he took of the man lying on the ground surrounded by police as they were waiting for the ambulance to arrive.  From his window he had a conversation with the police, and then settled down to watch the Tigers.
Like I said, this is not our usual “dock talk” stuff.
On the happier side of the spectrum, many of the other conversations that day and over the weekend were about a young couple staying on our street who were married on July 1.  He is about to be deployed by the army, and at the last minute they decided to push their wedding up to before his deployment.  I had been contacted in June to see if I could help.  Initially the ceremony was to be on shore next to our dock, but the couple had a little different picture in mind.  So instead, we re-located to a private beach north of Traverse City.  The only people who knew they were getting married were the 15 of us at the ceremony.  The couple then surprised all of her family on our street with the news the next day.  Things could not have worked out better.
This is the kind of “dock talk” I prefer … but the truth is, I don’t control the stories.  Life happens – and the stories it tells goes in a myriad of directions.  Many are the episodes that I cannot fathom, but they don’t automatically go away if we stop talking about them.  And many more are those that bring a smile.  We role with the punches, knowing that Jesus is with us always.  And that, while not changing anything, changes everything.
So, I’ll just conclude with the scriptures that were read in the happy “dock talk” story.  “Love comes from God.  Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.  Whoever does not love, does not know God, because God is love.  This is how God showed his love among us:  He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.” (1 John 4.7-9) “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.  Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another.  Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” (Colossians 3.12-13)

Dock Talk