The World and Everything in It: May 30, 2023 | WORLD
Sound journalism, grounded in facts and Biblical truth | Donate

The World and Everything in It: May 30, 2023


WORLD Radio - The World and Everything in It: May 30, 2023

Pro-life Democrats are increasingly rare, but still making a difference in state laws; Despite its win in Bakhmut, the Russian military leadership is running on fumes; and getting back to historical clothes-making with an innovative program in Colonial Williamsburg. Plus, a photobombing pigeon, commentary from Whitney Williams, and the Tuesday morning news

In this grab taken from video released by Prigozhin Press Service on Monday, May 29, 2023, Yevgeny Prigozhin's Wagner Group military company speaks to camera at a champagne warehouse in Bakhmut, Ukraine. Prigozhin Press Service via AP

PREROLL: The World and Everything in It is made possible by listeners like me. Hi! I’m Grace White, and I’m a highschool freshman living in Orange County, California. My mom stays home and homeschools me, my brother, and my sister. I was introduced to this program by my dad who listens to it every morning on his commute to John Wayne Airport in Long Beach. I love you dad, I hope you enjoy today’s program.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: Good morning! The Democratic party is deeply committed to abortion, but the remaining pro-lifers in the party are making a difference on the state level.

AUDIO: We have Democrats still in states that will vote pro life. In Kansas, we had four override the governor's veto on the pro life to advance the pro life issue there.

NICK EICHER, HOST: Also, Russia has claimed victory in the Ukrainian city of Bakhmut, but at what cost?

Plus, a milliner in Colonial Williamsburg tries something new to showcase something old.

AUDIO: I wanted to get those antiques out from under the glass, because you could point to the antiques, but you couldn't obviously touch them or hand them to a guest to feel and experience. And so we wanted to make things.

And WORLD commentator Whitney Williams on surfing and the Christian life.

REICHARD: It’s Tuesday, May 30th. This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.

EICHER: And I’m Nick Eicher. Good morning!

REICHARD: Up next, Kent Covington with today’s news

KENT COVINGTON, NEWS ANCHOR: Ukraine » Children ran in terror through the streets of Kyiv on Monday as explosions rocked the capital city.

Russian forces fired 11 ballistic missiles into the city. Fortunately, the explosions occurred in the air as Kyiv’s defenses intercepted all of the incoming missiles.

The attack came just hours after a more common nighttime barrage on the city by drones and cruise missiles.


One witness said he heard five to six explosions, and then heard a missile fragment hit the ground.

Falling debris set the roof of a building ablaze. At least one civilian was hurt.

Russia Graham » Meantime, Russia on Monday issued an arrest warrant for Republican U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham. WORLD’s Anna Johansen Brown reports.

Anna Johansen Brown: In an edited video of his meeting on Friday with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Graham noted that “the Russians are dying” and described the U.S. military assistance to Ukraine as “the best money we’ve ever spent.”

While Graham appeared to have made the remarks in different parts of the conversation, the short video put them next to each other, causing outrage in Russia.

Russia’s Interior Ministry later declared that it had issued a warrant for Graham’s arrest.

The senator called the warrant a “badge of honor.”

He added, “to know that my commitment to Ukraine has drawn the ire of Putin’s regime brings me immense joy.”

For WORLD, I’m Anna Johansen Brown.

Debt limit » Some Republican lawmakers are highly critical of a new debt ceiling deal that GOP leaders reached in principle with the White House over the weekend, but most say they plan to vote “yes.”

Congressman Buddy Carter of Georgia:

BUDDY CARTER: I am a yes. And look, this is not the best deal and it’s not the worst deal, but it is a deal.

The deal will achieve a slight reduction in overspending, but nothing close to a balanced budget.

Just before boarding Air Force One on Monday, President Biden said again on Monday that he feels good about where things stand.

JOE BIDEN: I have spoken to a number of the members. I spoke to McConnell. I spoke to a whole bunch of people.

He said there’s no reason a bill shouldn’t land on his desk before a June 5th deadline. The House will vote on a debt ceiling increase as early as tomorrow.

Space war » A top Pentagon official says the US military is preparing for threats in outerspace. WORLD’s Mary Muncy has more.

MARY MUNCY: Brigadier General Jesse Morehouse of US Space Command says satellites will play a key role in the next war… since militaries use them for communication and navigation.

He says Russia and China have already created anti-satellite technology including missiles, and China is creating a satellite equipped with a robotic arm to grab and dismantle them.

He says the U.S. is developing technology to counter those threats.

For WORLD, I’m Mary Muncy.

Iowa building » Iowa officials demolished a six-story apartment building in Davenport after part of it collapsed Sunday.

This man escaped the building unharmed.

IOWA RESIDENT: There was a lot of screams. A lot of cries. A lot of people saying “help” when the building came down. But that did not last—two or three minutes, and then the whole area was silent.

Rescuers pulled eight people from the debris and transported them to a local hospital.

Officials said as of last night, miraculously, there were no reported deaths.

Hebrew Bible » The world’s oldest complete Hebrew Bible just sold at auction as one of the most valuable manuscripts ever sold.

Manuscript consultant Sharon Liberman Mintz:

SHARON MINTZ: The Bible is written on parchment. It’s handwritten by one scribe on 792 pages. Parchment was a really expensive strata on which to write things. It’s what books were writing on in the Medieval period.

It’s more than 1,100 years old.

Former U.S. Ambassador Alfred Moses bought it for $38 million earlier this month and donated it to the ANU Museum of the Jewish People in Tel Aviv.

I'm Kent Covington.

Straight ahead: The pro-life Democrats getting pushed out of their party. Plus, Learning the tricks of the trade in an 18th century clothing shop.

This is The World and Everything in It.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: It’s Tuesday the 30th day of May, 2023.

Glad to have you along for today’s edition of The World and Everything in It. Good morning, I’m Mary Reichard.

NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher. First up: Abortion and the future of the Democratic party.  Since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last summer, Americans have seen the darker side of pro-abortion extremism.

KRISTEN DAY: So definitely, the pro choice side has become a lot more hostile. You see them attacking churches and pregnancy centers. You know, if if abortion is not safe, you're not either.

REICHARD: That’s Kristen Day, the executive director of a pro-life nonprofit in the nation’s capital. She represents a segment of the pro-life movement that’s so small it is nearly extinct: Pro-life Democrats. She says Democratic Party leadership has made it clear pro-lifers aren’t welcome.

DAY: They're becoming a lot less tolerant toward pro-life, people in the party, and it's become worse instead of better. You know, we talked about being an inclusive Big Tent party. We're really not. It's only a big, inclusive for issues that people agree with. And if you don't agree, then you you should leave is what the message is being sent.

EICHER: Surveys that measure Americans’ views on abortion show a majority support at least some protections for the unborn. A Marist poll taken in April found that two in three Americans want robust protections. They want laws that protect babies from abortion after the first trimester or sooner.

The Biden administration, however, says it wants to secure so-called “reproductive rights” for all.

KAMALA HARRIS: So know this: President Biden and I agree, and we will never back down. We will not back down. [Applause.] And we know — we know this fight will not be won until we secure this right for every American.

REICHARD: Vice President Kamala Harris, throwing down the gauntlet for the pro-abortion movement during a speech in Tallahassee, Florida, on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade this year.

In contrast, Day’s group, Democrats for Life of America, wants to amplify voices from within the party to counter pro-abortion extremism.

DAY: We have Democrats still in states that will vote pro life. And so we do work with the pro life Democrats in the States. In Kansas, we had four override the governor's veto on the pro life to advance the pro life issue there.

EICHER: Day here is referring to two new laws in Kansas—one protecting babies born alive after abortion and another requiring abortionists to tell clients about abortion pill reversal. The Kansas legislature overrode the governor’s veto of both bills with the help of four Democratic votes.

DAY: So I think there are there are Democrats, I just there's so many that agree with us that just are afraid to come out because they're afraid of the backlash.

REICHARD: But that hasn’t always been the case. Democrats were leaders early in the pro-life movement. Nellie Gray founded the March for Life in 1974. She was a liberal Democrat who lobbied Congress to pass a law overturning Roe v. Wade. In the late 1990s, Day worked for Democratic Congressman Jim Barsha of Michigan. He was the co-chair of the Pro-Life Caucus.

Now, Democrats for Life is supporting the pro-life position in state-level ballot initiatives. The group also promotes legislation that helps mothers who choose life.

DAY: And that is who we are, Democrats are supposed to be, we're supposed to be between being to protect the vulnerable. And instead of pushing abortion, we should be providing resources, and making sure that they have a choice when we're the pro choice party. But we're not where we become a pro abortion party. And just pushing that as the as the only option. And basically, I think the message is if you have resources, you have a choice, if you don't have abortion, and that, to me is not consistent with democratic values at all.

EICHER: Day also told us that Democrats for Life would support a federal law protecting the unborn, if it also included increased support for mothers.

DAY: And I see the pro life groups are really expanding their mission to, they've always been very supportive of pregnancy resource centers in but now looking at more legislation to actually provide the assistance to the pregnant woman once the child is born to. So it's exciting to see this expansion. And again, I think the Democratic Party is going to be left behind if they don't, you know, start moving away from this abortion extremism that they're pushing.

REICHARD: For now, the majority of the Democratic Party is full-steam ahead on proliferating abortion policies without much concern for the collateral damage of its small, but active, pro-life niche.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: Up next: the battle for Bakhmut and an internal battle between Russian military commanders.

The fight for control of the eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut has now lasted for the better part of a year. The Kremlin claims that fight is finally over, and that Moscow is victorious.

But leaders in Kyiv say that while Russia has succeeded in reducing the city to ruins, it has not entirely conquered Bakhmut, and that the fight rages on.

NICK EICHER, HOST: Doing the bulk of that fighting for Russia is a mercenary army called the Wagner Group. Its leader is Yevgeny Prigozhin. He says some 20,000 Wagner fighters have been killed claiming Bakhmut. And the group is now reportedly in the process of transferring its gains to the Russian army.

Prigozhin has been highly critical of Russian army commanders, calling them incompetent. And he warned that if Russians continue to see their sons coming back in caskets, while Russia’s elites and their children are shielded from the violence, then they should expect political turmoil, even maybe a full-on revolution.

How will that affect the war in Ukraine?

Joining us now to talk about it is Bradley Bowman. He is a former congressional affairs officer on the Army staff in the Pentagon. And he’s served as a top national security adviser to members of the U.S. Senate.

REICHARD: Bradley, good morning!


REICHARD: First of all, Bradley, a basic question: What exactly is the Wagner group and its role been in the war, specifically in Bakhmut?

BOWMAN: The Wagner Group is a Russian mercenary organization or a private military force. And the Kremlin has used the Wagner group to advance Russian foreign policy objectives, kind of while hiding behind a thin veil of deniability, at least in the past. You know, the Wagner Group is known for widespread and systematic abuses of human rights. It's been sanctioned by the Department of the Treasury. It first emerged in 2014 with Russia's invasion of Ukraine's Crimea, and since then, we've seen Wagner mercenaries showing up and generally doing bad things in Syria, in numerous countries in Africa, including Libya, the Central African Republic and Mali. So in Ukraine, as the Russian military floundered after the unprovoked invasion that Putin launched last year, he increasingly turned to Prigozhin and the Wagner Group for manpower and battlefield success. And so initially, in the early days, the Wagner Group consisted largely of Russian military veterans, but as many of them had been killed the Wagner Group has turned increasingly to prisoners, and often to individuals with little or no training, sending them to the front, as they did in Bakhmut, in human waves, essentially as cannon fodder. And that approach has helped grind down Ukrainian opposition at Bakhmut, admittedly at an extraordinary cost, and the Russian capture of Bakhmut is, I would say, a notable symbolic victory for the Kremlin, and would likely not have happened if it weren't for the role of Wagner.

REICHARD: Fighting has raged in Bakhmut for a long time now. What is the significance of that city in eastern Ukraine?

BOWMAN: If you and I were to make a list of Ukrainian cities that have significant military strategic value, Bakhmut would not be on the top 10 of that list. It's not a significant transportation hub. The capture of it doesn't necessarily facilitate follow on operations given nearby terrain and other factors, you know, but after Putin and the Russian military's failure to take Kyiv early last year, and Russian setbacks and Kharkiv and Kherson you know, the Kremlin, really, by Kremlin I mean Putin, downsized ambitions in Ukraine, and put a lot of priority on the Donbass region, which includes the provinces of Luhansk, and Donetsk, which is where Bakhmut sits. So there's no doubt that Putin would love to seize full control of Luhansk and Donetsk and taking Bakhmut as part of that. But you know, after repeated failures last year, he really needed a victory, even if a modest symbolic one, like capturing a city of Bakhmut, a town originally of about 70,000 people and a victory there could provide that. So while the city does not have major military strategic value, it has really taken on important symbolic or political significance, because both Kyiv and Moscow decided to take stands there and have thrown extraordinary numbers of troops and extraordinary amounts of war material into the fight. So in short, you know, the, the political privatization and the decision to pour men and material into the fight and Bakhmut, combined with the nature of urban warfare and the relative strengths of the two sides really helps explain, I think, why the battle there took so long. But to put it in perspective, you know, Pentagon press secretary Brigadier General Pat Ryder said a few days ago, that the Pentagon doesn't assess that it's a strategic gain for the Kremlin, and that Russian forces, as you said, paid a huge price in terms of lives and capability, which may create opportunities elsewhere. So in short, Russia has captured Bakhmut, you know, it may be a modest symbolic victory for the Kremlin, and especially for Wagner and for Prigozhin. But that success has come a great cost and the victory may be a Pyrrhic one.

REICHARD: What do you think Yevgeny Prigozhin’s recent comments reveal? “This divide can end as in 1917 with a revolution.”

BOWMAN: Yeah, you know, my goodness, that's pretty stark language coming from a Russian leader. That's not the norm. I'm not a Russian domestic political expert, but people who are suggest that that's pretty unusual. You know, we've we've seen, not only a battle, obviously, between Ukrainians and Russians, but we've seen a battle for credit, resources and credibility between Prigozhin and the Wagner group versus the Russian military and Sergei Shoigu, the Russian Minister of Defense, and Valery Gerasimov the Russian top general. And in autocratic Russia, this is not a normal thing to see such public infighting and criticisms above leading figures, and really some criticisms of Prigozhin regarding the whole war effort which really was launched by Vladimir Putin. I don't think he would be doing this if he didn't have Putin's permission. But, you know, he's shown himself frankly, to be an effective information warfare street brawler, which is not surprising, honestly, given his background, and he's often employed, expletive ridden tirades and ad hominem attacks, and often standing in front of dead Wagner Group mercenaries using them as props, which is pretty deplorable. But militarily, I would say, just quickly, this all makes the Russian ground forces look decidedly subpar. You know, one of the key principles of warfare is unity of command. And what we've seen in the struggle between Wagner and the Russian military is the antithesis of unity command, and that really reduces their tactical, operational and strategic effectiveness.

REICHARD: Next moves. We’ve been hearing for some time about an expected major Ukrainian counteroffensive. That hasn’t materialized. What’s the status of that and what is Ukraine’s next move?

BOWMAN: No, you're exactly right. Ukrainians and the United States and our allies in Europe have been talking about this counter offensive for a long time. I think there's some concern, you know, that if Ukraine didn't show additional tangible battlefield success, that support in the West might wane. And so there's been a little bit of a, you know, checks in the mail dynamic. But I'd say also, from a Ukrainian perspective, you know, you have Russia, depleting finite manpower, and material resources in Bakhmut, and the Ukrainians have taken a big toll, no doubt. But there, there is some argument for why it's in Ukraine's advantage to delay the counter offensive, because while the US has delivered extraordinary amounts of equipment, as have some of our European allies, so much of that hasn't arrived yet, so that the longer they can wait, the more they get this advanced Western and primarily American military equipment, which is clearly superior to that of Russia. So Russia has huge stores of older equipment, but Ukraine slowly but surely, is getting more and more significant quantities of advanced Western equipment. So the more of that equipment, that Zelenskyy has, and the better trained his troops are, which also takes time, the more effective that counter-offensive will be. So, you know, I would have predicted that we would have seen more by now. But I certainly understand the motive for delaying as much as possible from Kyiv’s perspective.

REICHARD: Bradley, do you see some sort of conceivable resolution that might bring this war to an end?

BOWMAN: You know, I'd like to say that I do. But I don't. You know, Putin could end this war tomorrow by ordering invading Russians to leave Ukraine, but I don't see any indication that is going to do it. So it may be that this war in Ukraine will continue in some form until Putin is no longer in power or passes away. If true, you know, then that's particularly tragic because of the suffering and loss of life among Ukrainians and Russians. I hope the war ends soon. But ending support for Ukraine saying, "Hey, this is going on too long, we should pull our support" would simply give Putin a victory and invite more aggression. And we know that other authoritarian bullies in Beijing, Tehran and Pyongyang are watching and wondering whether Washington has the staying power to stick with Ukraine, and based on what they conclude about that assessment will likely determine whether they decide to accomplish their political objectives with military force as well. So I see support for Ukraine as a wise investment, not charity, and I think we would withhold it or reduce it at our own peril.

REICHARD: Bradley Bowman is senior director at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. Bradley, always a pleasure to speak with you.

BOWMAN: Thank you so much.

NICK EICHER, HOST: OK, we cannot say Florida weather is totally predictable, but come on, you can usually count on warm and sunny. Not many surprises.

But meteorologist Chelsea Ambriz of NBC-6, she got a surprise during one of her weather forecasts. She was on the video wall with a feed from the live cam near the beach, when suddenly a pigeon swooped in for an extreme closeup.

CHELSEA AMBRIZ: It’s a great beach day, looking at the sky conditions, a mix of sun and fair weather clouds—Whoa! Oh, my gosh, the bird startled me! There we go.

It flew right at the camera and the perspective made it look like the pigeon looked twice her size So she posted the blooper to Twitter and got lots of response.

AMBRIZ: I've got a lot of people that are kind of chuckling along with me. I definitely did not think it was going to explode like it has.

Explode indeed! It didn’t quite melt the internet the way Governor DeSantis did last week. But the pigeon video now has more than 100 thousand views.

REICHARD: Yea, but what happened to the bird?

EICHER: It just came in for a landing. It only looked dangerous. So I think we can say, no wildlife was harmed in the making of this story.

It’s The World and Everything in It.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: Today is Tuesday, May 30th. Thank you for turning to WORLD Radio to help start your day. Good morning. I’m Mary Reichard.

NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher. Coming next on The World and Everything in It: stepping back in time.

Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia is the premiere living history museum for early American History. But the way its interpreters showcase that history has changed.

REICHARD: WORLD Senior Writer Kim Henderson now with the story of a woman who teaches dressmaking by making dresses.

JANEA WHITACRE: This gown was made in 17, or the original was made in 1778.

KIM HENDERSON, SENIOR WRITER: That’s Janea Whitacre. She’s on staff at Colonial Williamsburg, the largest U.S. history museum in the world. Right now, she’s describing a gown they’ve reproduced in the millinery shop she runs.

WHITACRE: We realized that the trim that's on the gown is done with a pinking iron, which we did not have.

So Whitacre went to the blacksmith next door. He made a new old-fashioned tool.

WHITACRE: So before a pair of scissors, there was actually a tool that you hammered into the fabric, so it makes a lot of noise. [laughing]

Whitacre is working an 18th century trade in an 18th century building in 18th century lighting.

WHITACRE: So to protect our counter, we put a piece of fabric, a woodblock, a nice quarter-inch thick piece of leather. And we'll lay the silk on it, and that should cut the raw edge.

Making the trim of a dress look just like it would have looked 300 years ago is a skill. It’s a skill Whitacre has perfected over the course of a long career. She arrived at Colonial Williamsburg’s millinery shop in 1982, and she never left.

WHITACRE: As a milliner, I make the ornaments to your wardrobe—aprons and kerchiefs and men's shirts and their neckcloths and handkerchiefs and cloaks and robes. So the unfitted clothing of the wardrobe.

But colonial milliners often possessed two sets of skills. They learned two trades.

WHITACRE: The second one is mantua-making, or dressmaking.


More than half a million people visit Colonial Williamsburg each year. This morning, a school group from Florida is in the shop. Whitacre tells them about apprenticeship in the 18th century.

WHITACRE: It's only 12 hours a day, six days a week. 

STUDENT: Did you say only?


The way Whitacre interacts with visitors has changed over time. 

WHITACRE: We were career interpreters when I first started. So we talked. But we didn't make, particularly.

Now she wears things she makes. Her handmade gowns are hanging on pegs on the walls. The kids ask questions about them.

WHITACRE: I wanted to get those antiques out from under the glass, because you could point to the antiques, but you couldn't obviously touch them or hand them to a guest to feel and experience. And so we wanted to make things, and I didn't know how much there was to learn at the time.

One of Whitacre’s biggest accomplishments at Colonial Williamsburg is the apprenticeship program she started in 1995.

WHITACRE: It took about 11 years to figure out: one, what we needed to know, and then figure out how it could be taught. Many of the apprenticeships at the time were number-oriented. And I wanted it to be project-oriented. Things that I could see.

Since then, seven milliners have finished an apprenticeship with Whitacre. It’s a rare opportunity to learn a craft in one of Williamsburg’s workshops using period tools and techniques.

Whitacre’s current apprentice is E. Katherine Hargrove.

KATHERINE HARGROVE: This job is really sort of in triplicate. We do the work. We are tradespeople and we work vocationally. We're academics. We do extensive work behind the scenes. And then we have that educational bent. We're sharing this information with people on a day to day basis.

There’s another woman in the shop named Rebecca Godzik. She finished her apprenticeship in four and a half years, which is typical for trades at Colonial Williamsburg. Now Godzik is a journeywoman. That means she’s trained but still working for someone else. Godzik tells me about one of her projects.

REBECCA GODZIK: Was to take a portrait and reproduce the gown and all of the pieces of millinery, all the accessories that were worn in that particular portrait.

The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts loaned them the portrait. Godzik kept it on display next to her own work in the shop.

GODZIK: People could see the gown taking shape, and the cloak and the ruffles. And our wig makers reproduced a wig so that the lady who we made the gown for could actually sit and be arranged exactly like she was in the portrait. That was so much fun to see it literally come alive.

Godzik is quick to sing her mentor’s praises. She says it’s not just Whitacre’s 40 years of expertise in the field.

GODZIK: She actually invented the field.

That meant Whitacre had to convince others that millinery and dressmaking has value beyond the obvious.

GODZIK: There's economics, there's social history, there's cultural history, and that's something that I think a lot of traditional academics don't understand. That there's more to it than just making and wearing pretty clothes.

But the clothes are pretty. And Whitacre says visitors still ooh and ahh over them, just like they did when she started.

WHITACRE: Everyone I have the pleasure of talking with is pretty much on vacation. So there’s a joy in doing something different. And I have fun, and hopefully they leave with a smile and have fun. And that hasn’t changed at all in the last 40 years.

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Kim Henderson in Williamsburg, Virginia.

REICHARD: To read the full print feature story, look for the June 3 issue of WORLD Magazine. We’ll post a link to the digital version of the story in the transcript of this episode.

NICK EICHER, HOST: Today is Tuesday, May 30th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Nick Eicher.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard. This is a special week, WORLD’s new donor drive. And during this special week, longtime donors have agreed to give what you give, a true dollar-for-dollar match as a tangible demonstration that when you support WORLD, you’re joining a team.

EICHER: Right, maybe you’re a new listener and you haven’t even thought about how this program is supported, or any of our journalistic products, for that matter.

But they are listener and viewer and reader supported. So if you benefit from biblically objective journalism and you’ve never given before, make this the week you do it. Because as Mary just said, whatever gift you make this week only is automatically doubled. Matched dollar for dollar. Please visit

REICHARD: Generous opportunity there, and again, a little sense of urgency, you can only take advantage of the offer this week. All right. Up next: WORLD commentator Whitney Williams.

WHITNEY WILLIAMS, COMMENTATOR: Nine years ago, my husband and I decided to take surfing lessons in the Puerto Rican Atlantic—well, actually, I decided, but he didn’t say no.

It was all fun and games until my husband got hurt. We had just bailed off of our boards after catching a wave in and were floating together near shore, resting and chatting before swimming back out. Suddenly a massive wave pulled us under, along with our boards. In what seemed like less than a second, my board shot out of the water like a rocket and slammed into my husband’s face, breaking his nose, and shattering his orbital bone and cheek area.

I remember the surf instructor yelling, “You’re knocked out, bro! You’re knocked out!” as my husband tried to paddle in, blood gushing. Having been dropped off at the lesson by my parents, we didn’t have our own transportation, so we piled into the surf instructor’s rusty hatchback and headed to the nearest clinic.

The first clinic workers just shook their heads. At the second clinic, a lady in a sparkly pink sweatshirt sewed my husband’s face back together, needling in 12 stitches just below his left eye. She then sent him by ambulance across the island to San Juan where we spent the night together on a gurney in a busy ER hallway. When the doctors finally got around to us, they decided my husband’s facial fracture didn’t require surgery, which was good news, but what happened next was like something out of a horror movie. A medical professional in a white lab coat laid him down on a table, which caused him to choke on his own blood, then she proceeded to jab some scissors-like contraption so far up his nose that I was certain she was going for his brain—you’re stabbing me! he screamed, coming up off the table—and then she muscle jerked his nose back to its midline, full force.

“It’s not your fault,” I remember him telling me, eye purple and swelled shut, bloody tissues jammed up his nose. “It’s not your fault.” I appreciated the grace.

Nine years later, the story has shifted: “Remember that time you broke my face?” he asks me, blaming me for his one “crazy eye” that opens more than the other when he smiles.

First off: He had that crazy-looking eye when I met him. Secondly: I didn’t drag him into the water with me that day against his will. No, we both knew the dangers of the ocean, the forcefulness of its waves, and yet, we chose to play around in it anyway.

The ocean’s not sinful, of course, and my husband’s only kidding when he blames me for his smashed face. But when I consider this experience, I can’t help but think of the ocean of sinful choices life presents. Most of us recognize the dangers, some of us choose to play anyway. So what happens, then, when the waves of consequence overtake us and bust us in the face? Are we knocked out, bro? No, the Bible says, but in order to receive forgiveness and healing, we must admit we’re hurt and that we’ve only got ourselves to blame. We’ve got to own up to what’s ours before Christ will say “that’s mine.”

And by the way, we’re done surfing.

I’m Whitney Williams.

NICK EICHER, HOST: Tomorrow: Washington Wednesday, a profile of Republican presidential candidate Tim Scott, the GOP’s only black senator. Henry Olson will join us to handicap Scott’s chances. And, a mother-daughter visual art duo.

That and more tomorrow. I’m Nick Eicher.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard. 

The World and Everything in It comes to you from WORLD Radio. WORLD’s mission is biblically objective journalism that informs, educates, and inspires.

The Apostle Paul wrote: “For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness.” 1 Thessalonians chapter 4, verses 3 through 7.

Go now in grace and peace.

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.


Please wait while we load the latest comments...