Saturday, January 22, 2011

Coraggio, Part 2

It's one of those things that sometimes i get a theme going in my mind, and it doesn't leave me for days.

Courage is one of those. The concept of it; the reality of it… has always had a massive impact on my life. It's been held up as the ultimate virtue, and I believe my entire wiring revolves around it on some level.

Understanding it correctly, I believe, will be a lifelong journey.

You know it's funny. Tonight, I ended up in this insane, intense discussion about marriage. It had to do with what is considered a "mistake" (in regards to choice of spouse), and what role does anyone have in determining if someone else is making a mistake or not. And while, it might not seem to have too much relationship with the whole concept of courage, my belief is that it has EVERYTHING to do with courage. Especially nowadays.

Having the courage to commit your life to someone …till death do us part… is an insanely heavy responsibility. I certainly don't take it lightly, and have spent the better part of my life attempting to purge myself of false notions of marriage, in order to "insure" that I wouldn't make a mistake in this area. I've worked hard to not just give in "just because" somebody seemed like a decent fit. I've known lots of wonderful, GREAT guys, but it's only been recently that I've actually been able to match my vision with a real person. I've been careful and hung onto the belief that God wouldn't tell me certain bits of information, if He wasn't going to insure that I end up with the right person. So, I've learned over time to draw serious boundaries, and know a lot about trying to not lead people on. I make stronger judgements than most. But the funny thing is… tonight I was actually accused of not making a strong enough judgement into someone else's situation. The key being… someone ELSE's situation. Well, I won't go into the specifics, as there are too many factors that you JUST had to be there for. Nevertheless, it keeps bringing me back to a centralizing point.

That point has to do with COURAGE. To lay the groundwork, I realize at this point in my life, that courage has nothing to do with me, and everything to do with God. That being said, the experience of calculating any number of risks into whether a situation will work or not; whether a relationship will work or not; runs a pale race into whether… God decides to effect HIS grace in any given situation or relationship.

I think of many situations, where I had an attractive, unusual, unique man in front of me and couldn't find that PEACE. Peace is usually a signal for me to let the door swing open. I've made lots of friendships, but have been reserved in large part. I can sit down and laugh and joke with all kinds of guys. I've NEVER been accused of being frigid. Not ever. But to be able to consider more?? It's a different story. And then grace stepped in, and all of a sudden it was natural. It was easy. It was like finding myself inside a house, when I'd never been inside one before. On the other side of the door. That is an experience that could never be manufactured. That's GRACE. It makes easy, what usually isn't.

I will NEVER ever ever ever… say that God has to do things a certain way. I can't. I know better. Time and time again, He's shown me that as many times as I might try to tally up a list of formulas and solutions, He has a million more possibilities that I can't even BEGIN to conceive of. That's a GOOD thing!!! It puts me in my place and reminds me that I'm not in charge. And it crystallizes a knowledge that COURAGE is a key component in any decision that is made. If you don't have courage, you run the risk of never allowing yourself the possibility for surprise, awe or wonder. It's to run the risk of relegating yourself to a life of stifled faith that will constantly rebel against human constraints. It's a mindset that can put severe limitations on God's ability to flow unimpeded in and through you.

Courage, enables you to believe. 'Cause I guarantee that a life of faith demands guts. It is NOT for the faint of heart. It pushes you to go BEYOND yourself constantly, and more often than not challenges each individual in the ways that is the most painful.

You know, it makes me think about a life-long prayer I've had. And by the way, I still hold true to it, thought it makes me groan to say it, as I am far more aware of the possible implications. The prayer is that I hope when I die, it'll specifically be FOR somebody else. Whether it's a red martyrdom or a white martyrdom, I don't want to die without it having some kind of positive effect on someone else's life and soul. I hope that when it happens, I'll help make it more possible for someone else to love God, love themselves, love others more. It doesn't matter what the circumstances are… I just want it to help somebody.

Now mind you, that's not me! I mean… I'm saying it, but it's not something I could generate on my own. Nobody could. Not really. The same way, no sane living person can stand at an altar nowadays and pledge themselves to be committed heart, mind, body and soul to another living person… on their own. It can't be done. Human instinct would overcome the marriage at some point, (technically, it's about 2-3 years), and the relationship begins to degenerate.

However, that's where GRACE steps in. That's where COURAGE steps in. It's the component that gives us the strength to swallow our pride, and SEEK to learn how to love the way God intends. And the cool thing is that He doesn't expect us to necessarily know how to do that. But He does expect us to try to understand, and to be willing to suspend our so called notions of how "I" would do things, in favor of what "we" can BE. Commitment is pure COURAGE. It means you know that love is bigger than you. Life is bigger than you. And it is based on SOMEONE, who made Himself a living example of real commitment. He not only gave us an example, but continually gives us HIMSELF, in order to fill us with His personality, truth be told.

It's like that movie "United 93"… one potential case study in what people might've done, regardless of whether or not it would even work. Now granted, there's a lot of speculation about what happened on that plane, but it was based on actual conversations with the families of the victims. The gist is this,… love is not a passive thing. It's a concrete decision that can physically effect other people. In this case, the speculation is that a group of people on a plane decided that if they were going to die, they sure as heck weren't going allow anyone outside the plane to die. They could've easily said "oh forget it. It's not going to matter anyway. We're all going to die at some point, what would it matter if I did anything. I'll just curl up here in the corner, as there isn't anything I can DO." They could've said that. But they didn't. And potentially, that decision could've had MASSIVE implications. Who knows if that plane was heading for the White House? Maybe. Or the Capitol Building. Maybe. (and I know what all the naysayers are saying. They're saying it was all a conspiracy, and completely made up etc etc. For all intensive purposes, I am completely disregarding that theory. I'm talking about courage and it's nature, not about political agendas.) In the end, love and courage made a powerful decision, and possibly protected us from a very different fate.

Love IS courage. In fact, the root of courage, is from the Latin "Cor". "Cor" means heart. The heart is at the root of courage. More than feeling, it is steadfastness and loyalty. It is a consistent beating of the heart that directs the flow of blood in such a way, as to ensure life throughout the whole body.

Making the decision to love one person above all other people (except God, of course!) is courage. Surrendering your individual likes, dislikes, wants, needs in favor of building MUTUAL likes, dislikes, wants and needs… can be absolutely heroic! I don't take it lightly, and when grace enters in and animates someone to give their life like that into someone else's hands… I have complete and total respect for that inspiration. Because that's what it is. Love is pure inspiration. Courage is inspiration. They are both GIVEN to us, and not something of our own creation. Either it's there, or it isn't. And if it's not… don't try to make it so. If it is, pray. And if it stays, pray harder. If in the end, it remains and there is nothing sinful or internally and/or externally disordered about it… chances are, God wants it. And will bless you.

Love… is …. pure power. Run like the wind towards it, and let it carry you to places untold!!

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