Playing with Fire

The river looked so peaceful tumbling over the rocks and through the snow-covered pine trees. The road weaved through the narrow canyon, the rock walls towered above us.

The kids had been teasing all morning to find a sledding hill and we hadn’t driven all the way through the canyon by our house since the flood almost two years ago. Perfect excuse to go on an adventure. A year-and-a-half and countless hours of hard work by so many people had masked much of the devastation the river had caused, but in several spots it was still apparent. We commented on the stretches of road that had obviously crumbled away to the high waters and admired the incredible strength the raging torrent must have had as it tumbled down the mountain. Mud slides where the pine trees and boulders had eroded away from water with cement-like consistency and strength. We had seen the devastation on a very real level that day as my husband’s half hour commute turned to four hours, and I panicked as I weaved around roads almost submersed in water to rescue my son from school, which they had closed less than an hour after the students arrived.


The civil engineering that had fixed the broken roads and made the canyon passable a mere six months after was impressive. But what caught our eye more than anything else were the houses. Some hanging halfway off a cliff from undercutting, windows still broken, walls gone, some houses even moved from one location to another. Some still in the midst of repair, others abandoned. Nothing left to salvage.

“Why would anyone build a house so close to the river?” My husband’s face showed genuine concern and disbelief. Having dug mud out of basements for many weekends following the flood, he knew far better than I did the pain and work this had caused families.

The answer seemed obvious. The peaceful little stream, the majestic mountains towering around us, the pine trees so romantically enveloping the little cabins. Quiet, serene, beautiful… fun. I could see plenty of people jumping at the opportunity. But just a few little rocky steps down from the front porch trickling by was a danger that should have been obvious. It wasn’t the first time that river had flooded, and chances are, it won’t be the last.

I never had even heard of the books, and the movie would have gone unnoticed to me had it not been all over the Internet. To be honest, I still don’t really even know exactly what it’s about. 50 Shades of Gray has obviously caused an uproar. The newspaper this week devoted an entire article boasting of the film breaking box office records. What I do know about it is that it has left us questioning our moral values as a society. And for me, I don’t plan to watch to find out any more than that.

In a world that all-too-often seems to scoff at moral values it’s increasingly important for us to stand up.

Because if you play with fire you will get burned.

As attractive as something may seem, as romantic, as fun, as cozy, if potential dangers wait just right outside the door, it’s probably not worth the risk.

Porn harms. Period. Movies, pictures, books, whatever. If it creates strong emotions outside of a healthy relationship, it’s wrong.

Affairs, physical and even just simple, seemingly harmless emotional ones can devastate a family.

It can start small. Lingering a second too long on that magazine cover at the book store. A simple flirtatious comment to a coworker. Confiding in an old high school fling about a little spat with your spouse. When we cross that line, we are laying the foundation right at the beaches of a potential raging torrent. It may seem at the time like a stream, but why take that risk?

Let’s decide now. Let’s draw a line and never cross. If we can’t set the example, if we can’t show our children that our families, that our spouse is worth so much more than riverfront, flood plane property, who will? Obviously not the media.

Up the canyon and past the flood-devastated homes my family found a fantastic sledding hill. With red cheeks and giant grins, my boys mounted their sleds. My husband cheered with each tumble and jump, and we had a wonderful time. I can’t imagine giving something so incredible up for what originally might seem like a simple little look, a quick witty comment, a seemingly harmless movie with degrating and erotic content. The grass is greener where it is watered. Where are we going to water? No matter how wonderful the property may seem, if danger lurks in the shadows, I hope we will all choose to build our foundation on something more sure and strong.

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