I’ve talked recently about our new perception of “radical” not as something to avoid or fear, but as something to embrace and cherish.
This week we continue to navigate this space of radicalism and ask the question:
Where is our commitment?
If we start the word origin discussion again, we will find that the word commitment has Latin roots roughly translating into “to entrust” or “to give in trust”
Commitment = Trust?
So then, perhaps, the next question we should be asking is:
Is my fear of commitment really a fear of commitment, or is it a fear of trusting, of letting go, of giving into faith?
Our culture nowadays is consumed by instant gratification and finding “solutions” out of any problem.
With information literally seconds away thanks to our vast array of technological devices, it is actually relatively easy to get out of the uncomfortable zone of not knowing and needing an answer into the arena of “all knowing whiz kid;” just ask any teacher or professor who has been questioned literally seconds after making a comment in class, OR any medical provider taking care of a patient with a smartphone, tablet, etc.
It’s what I call “Real Time Feedback.”
BUT, before we stray too far from the real intention of this post, I bring us back to my ultimate point:
Uncertainty is not the enemy.
Curiosity feeds on uncertainty and breeds with faith for as Anne Lamott most eloquently said, the opposite of faith is not doubt, it is certainty.
And faith my friends, is the daily COMMITMENT of trusting, of letting go, of accepting that we may not and will not have all the answers.
And that is entirely okay.
You are probably wondering now, “Great, this is kinda helpful, but I still don’t really see the relevance of commitment and your original question.”
Where is our commitment?
This is precisely the question Anand Giridharadas asked as part of his podcast appearance with Krista Tippett in late November 2017.
“I think what’s happened to us is that we’re not committed to each other as a people, so it’s almost like we are in this situation where any disappointment that we encounter in our fellow citizens is like a reason to break up. And part of commitment as a citizen is embracing other people’s dysfunction, and embracing other people’s incompleteness, because you know you have your own.”
Not your commitment to a religion, diet, sports team or school club, but your commitment to people.
Dysfunctional, challenged, but beautiful people.
It has also been said by many wiser than I, that we must wake up and see the true human being around us, for “everyone is fighting a great fight we know nothing about” and while we may not know what they are fighting, we only need to know that they are.
We run away from uncertainty with our I-phones and run away from each other’s troubles by living in social media bubbles, closing our eyes when it is most convenient.
I admit it. I’ve been a “bolter” running from things I didn’t understand, running from tension, disappointment, conflict, relationships when things felt uncomfortable.
But that lasts only as long as your lungs and shoes will carry you.
And guess what?
Lung and laces do not last forever.
As I have continued to embrace my own mosaic, my fragmented, but integrated whole, I have found peace in declaring my beliefs, in bearing my heart and in standing up for the values most deep to my core. I have found comfort, not in seeking to relieve all the suffering and problems of my patients, but in KNOWING them, in SEEING THEIR DISAPPOINTMENTS AND THEIR HEARTS and LETTING THEM KNOW I DO.
I cannot chose the problems of my patients.
Some in the medical community would love to run away from the complicated, dysfunctional and disappointing.
But to deflect the problems of others is to also deflect their joy, their love, their belonging.
Armour blocks disappointment just the same as it blocks joy and a back running from hurt is the same back that cannot see joy.
For in truth, as I see it
YOUR problems are OUR problems.
Not your problems.
Not my problems.
But OUR problems.
If that is too much of a leap for you, I completely understand.
It is a leap I take every day and sometimes I am able to jump farther than others, but jump I always do.
If it helps you, start by simply seeing another’s hurt, another’s pain as YOUR own.
And if you are like most people, it will be easy to get motivated about YOUR pain and YOUR problems.
And from this place, of “inward” motivation, slowly but deliberately seek to go from MY to OUR.
YOUR, MY, OUR
YOUR MY OUR.
YOUR MY OUR?
Your my our.
And with that, perhaps, we have found the answer we were looking for from the beginning.