Monday, November 10, 2008

Imprisoned by Safety

Following Jesus is a risky affair. Not everything about God is safe.

 'Safe?' said Mr. Beaver. 'Don't you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? 'Course he isn't safe. But he's good. He is the King I tell you.' - C.S. Lewis

I am tempted and desire safety and security. Perhaps it is something only in men, but I want to risk. 

'I wanted movement and not a calm course of existence. I wanted excitement and danger and the chance to sacrifice myself for my love. I felt in myself a superabundance of energy which found no outlet in out quiet life.' - Leo Tolstoy

I find in myself the longing to take risks, to dare greatness and glory. This desire and longing is soon silenced by the commanding voice of safety and security. The computed probability and odds overpower the hope of risk. Love is inherently risky; strong deep passionate love is characteristically dangerous. And God is love. There is a deeper degree of love that is forged in the fires of reckless abandon. I settle for the mediocrity of love because I am lulled to believe that a life of safety, security, and prosperity are of a higher value. 

'So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservatism, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality nothing is more damaging to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future.' - Christopher McCandless

These elements are forced to remedy a desire far greater then even the most secure, safe and/or prosperous could never fill. We don't risk because it is dangerous. A fierce love, love to its deepest, comes at personal loss and is achieved only at the cost of awkward uncomfortable suffering. 
There are some elements that can only be experienced to their fullest extent, can only be experienced the way they were created to be, by taking a risk for them. So I go along, living largely unfulfilled life because I am unwilling to risk. Condemned to this half-hearted existence all the while the deepness and full richness of life is there to be had if only I would risk for it. 

'If we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it seems that our Lord finds our desire not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far to easily pleased.' -C.S. Lewis 

When I do risk, there will be times when it is excruciatingly awful. When I feel as if something inside of me had broken. But the truth of he matter is that I am already broken. These times are when I risk and experience joy and exuberant love, something in me is made right, fixed, fulfilled. And through it all I experience the depths of the awful beautiful life God has made for me.

'To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully around with hobbies and little luxuries... Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of you selfishness, but in the casket - safe, dark, motionless, airless - it will change. It will not be broken; it will be unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable... The only place outside of heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers of love is hell." -C.S. Lewis

'I'm afraid it's been too long to try and find the reasons why I let my world close in around a smaller patch of fading sky' - Jars of Clay

These walls of safety have been erected around me and I stare up at our own 'small patch of fading sky' and never scale the walls, thinking that with out them or outside of them will might die. All the while never realizing that I have never truly lived. This fear of death and ambiguity for the unknown keeps me from ever leaving the pitifully narrow and small place in the grand spectrum of life. Never scale the walls to experience the marvelous diversity, the deep sorrows and the profound joys, of this life that has been lovingly given to me. There is so much beauty beyond these walls, emanating from both creation and others around you. Given exclusively to be enjoyed, exclusively for me, for us. And you will never know it, imprisoned by the walls of security, safety, prosperity and fear, unless I risk, risk my dismal world within for the wealth of the world without.