4. “I want to live my whole life like that. I want to love with much more abandon and stop waiting for others to love me first.” – John Eldredge, Wild at Heart
I’ve made my choice. I’m tired of only seeing the two options of fight or flight. Tired of diving for cover, tired of lashing out, all for the sake of “protecting” myself.
I also don’t want to settle for being the “nice guy”: someone polite and politically correct, someone who won’t assert or initiate, someone non-confrontational. Because this too, can be a mask: by being unwilling to initiate or confront, by trying to get along to go along, I think we can end up closing ourselves off from the intimacy and the love we’re seeking. Being “nice” is not enough.
I want to live a life of truly loving and being loved, of revealing my real self to others and encouraging others to reveal themselves to me, of living to become what God made me to be and helping others become who God made them to be. To do this, I know that I have to learn to love recklessly with abandon: to live the heroic, courageous, radical kind of love that initiates relationship without regard to the possibility that love may not be returned right away, or maybe even ever! This is absolutely terrifying, because I will get hurt by some people: human nature, compounded by sin, practically guarantees this!
I’m far from perfect, far from the saint I aim to be, far from the best version of myself that God wants me to be. I’m sinful, I’m selfish, I lose patience sometimes, I get angry sometimes, I do dumb things sometimes! I’ll hurt others, sometimes without realizing it, and sometimes on purpose. Sometimes the fears can become so overwhelming that I’ll lose heart and resort to popping my quills or running away. I will screw up, I will fail: I get it when St. Paul says to the Romans when he says that he does not do the good he wants, but the evil he does not want. I get it because I do this too! And even beyond all that, I’m naturally introverted and painfully shy…that’s a lot of hurdles to leap over!
But maybe…courage is contagious. Maybe by living courageously, with God’s help we can pull others from their tombs of loneliness and isolation. Maybe taking that risk can encourage others to do the same: by putting away those quills and asking to dance, others just might put theirs away and accept that dance. 🙂
So I think I’ll take Bl. Pope JP2’s advice, straight out of Scripture, one of the most common exhortations God has for his people: “Be not afraid!” Leave the life of the chicken, and soar as the eagle!
See Part 5 here.