Some time ago we visited an ancient ruin of a once great Mayan city. As we walked through the grounds studying the crumbling stone buildings and signs of magnificent sculpture, frescoes, and even impressive technology, it was easy to see in our imagination through the mists of 1200 years the hustle and bustle of thousands of citizens of the city involved in trade, worship, play, and all aspects of life.
The city was well situated in terms of productive soil, adequate water supply, and a defensible position on cliffs overlooking the sea. In any such setting our minds eventually come up against the question: What happened to these people? Where did they go?
At least part of the answer to that question is found in the annals of history. In the 1520’s a Spanish ship anchored just off shore from the city. It is easy to imagine the dilemma of the Mayan leaders. On one hand they were in a secure position to defend themselves against what was a very small Spanish force, should the Spaniards prove hostile. Put they were also immensely curious about these white, bearded people and their technology that was so different from that of the Mayans. And so they invited them in.
Within a matter of just a few short months this great city was in crisis as hundreds, perhaps thousands, died from an unseen plague. Eventually the city was generally abandoned and the jungle began to relentlessly take it back.
You see, whether the Spanish were hostile or bent on destroying this city and people was irrelevant, because what they unknowingly brought into the Mayan city were European diseases, perhaps germs such as small pox and cholera. The Mayan people had no natural immunity to such diseases and were annihilated as thoroughly as though by gun and sword.
As we work with marriages and families in crisis we often can trace much of the decline back to a few choices that introduced an unseen and, at first, unfelt infection into the individuals which then proceeded to overwhelm them, and then their relationships.
In our next few postings we will point out some of those deadly “diseases” that we unknowingly invite into our lives and homes and describe the havoc they can wreak. Some of those deadly influences come through our televisions, computers, and iPods and are doubly dangerous because society simply winks at them without recognizing the toll they take. Others are erroneous beliefs and attitudes that can doom a marriage if not corrected. Still others come in the form of habits or addictions.
We will also give some ideas about how to make different choices that will invite the fresh and cleansing air of healing and joy into our families. Because at the end of the day just as the Mayans had a choice, we all have a choice of who and what we will invite inside the walls of our families and relationships.