Thursday, November 1, 2012

What The Promise Is For

I am the wayward sort. My mind wanders, imagines a life I've never lived, with ones I've never known. Yes, I am the wayward sort, wondering what life might have been mine had I signed up for a different class, been born a different year, loved another man, written a different song.

And my life is good... so good. I am deeply loved and cared for by a faithful husband, supported and challenged by friends who are, indeed, Family. Countless meals and conversations fill my days. I have fulfilling work and vocation as a songwriter and musician. There is laughter, singing, creating. Yes, life is good; it is full.

But I guess born in us from the beginning is the question if things could be better, different; if we could have more control. "God, is there something you're withholding?"

I want to be the faithful sort - whose mind never wanders, who eyes never look in the wrong direction, who is content - joyful! - with what's been given, with what has been entrusted to my safe-keeping.


"This is harder than we dreamed, but I believe that's what the promise is for."
(Andrew Peterson, Dancing in the Minefields)

Vows exist for a reason. We promise to stay, promise to grow up together, keep on together. And not just marriage vows. Monastic vows come to mind. Without vows, commitment, we'd retreat to isolation. Or we would put our whole selves into others, over and over again, with no promise to carry these selves through to anything resembling wholeness, goodness. If there was no vow, I think I'd be in trouble, always wondering if the grass was greener somewhere else.

If we avoid vows, promises, commitments altogether, even though those of us who make them fall short, then what do we think about the world? About a god? About our life's purposes? There are accidents, not purposeful creations; using each other for one's own good, moving on when finished; no access to the joy found through suffering when you come out on the other side (for, without the vow, you jump ship when the suffering is just beginning).

May we be found faithful; may even I be found faithful.

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