Courage to Commit

I went to a wedding this last weekend.  I love weddings!  Every time I hear wedding vows, it brings tears to my eyes.  I think the words are so beautiful. 

Imagine…we stand up and say “YES!” to a lifetime commitment to LOVE.  We promise unconditional love to another person.  As imperfect people, this is a leap of faith.  This kind of commitment takes courage. 

The priest at the wedding this weekend said, “We have no idea what people, events, and circumstances will define this union.”  Isn’t that true? We can not predict what will happen but we are hopeful, expectant, and full of faith (or are we just clueless?).  We don’t know what our story will be and that’s the beauty of it.  That’s the romance.  The two of us against the world!

My husband and I were young when we got married.  Did we know what we were doing?  Absolutely not!  That’s the beauty of being young and brave (or clueless) and invincible.  I remember the priest telling us in no uncertain terms that we were committing to love each other unconditionally for the rest of our lives.  He said it really slow, Unnconnditionnalllly (dramatic pause)…for the resssssssssssttttttttt of your liiiives.

At the wedding, I sat next to a couple that was talking about having a baby.  They were wondering…should they, shouldn’t they, how will their lives change? I have found that if we think about things too much, we all become hesitant, fearful, and unsure.  I’m not recommending we throw caution to the wind and live life without thinking but I know that if I think too much about something, I can have “paralysis from over analysis”. 

I found a quote on a Starbucks cup (Inspiration is everywhere!) that speaks to this.  The quote is not attributed to anyone but this person sure was wise.

The irony of commitment is that it’s deeply liberating – in work, in play, in love.  The act frees you from the tyranny of your internal critic, from the fear that likes to dress itself up and parade around as rational hesitation.  To commit is to remove your head as the barrier to your life.

Don’t you love this? We do dress up our fear, don’t we?  We call ourselves “realistic” or “cautious” or “practical” when often, we are just plain scared.  Sometimes we need to say “Yes!” first and then figure out how to make it all work. 

Our head is often a barrier to our lives.  Our little mind tells us to hesitate and fear.  But if we listen to our heart…well, that’s a different story. 

 

Father’s Day

My Dad passed away 12 years ago and I miss him still.  At certain moments, I miss him so much it makes me sob like a baby.  It might be in the middle of the grocery store or while watching a commercial or making dinner.   Often, it’s when we are on vacation.  Vacation reminds me of my childhood.  I look at my children and I wish they knew him.  I see grandpas with kids and I wish he was there with his grace and his humor and his charm.  His eyes sparkled and his confidence was never shaken.  He was a man who was comfortable in his skin and when he was on your side, the world was your oyster.   

My dad was warm, funny, intelligent, and kind.   He was steady and calm.  His advice for a happy life was to work hard, go to church, and love your family.  I love the quote by Leonardo Da Vinci that says “Simplicity is the highest form of sophistication.”  My dad was sophisticated.  He was classy, loyal, and reliable. 

My dad was a Marine in World War II.  This meant our shoes were always shined and we were fined a dollar if we didn’t wear a belt!!  I cringe to think of what he would say about all the young people with their “pants on the ground” today.  I wish I had asked more about the war.  I wish I knew what it was like and how it changed him. 

One time I told my dad I wanted to marry someone like him because, “You know everything.”  And he said, “Oh, no, honey, you want to make sure someone marries you because YOU know everything.”  Good advice, don’t you think? 

Thanks Dad.  Thanks for talking to me and listening to me and telling me I’m beautiful and smart.  Thanks for thinking I could get into Northwestern (his alma mater) even though there wasn’t even a sliver of a chance that would happen.  Thanks for working hard for our family and for taking us to church.  Thanks for loving mom and disciplining us (mostly my brothers).  Thank you for showing me my own worth, for holding a mirror up to me so I could see what you see.  Thank you for being simple, grateful, faithful, and kind.  I know that you are with God in Heaven and I know when you arrived, He said, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”  Well done, Dad.  Happy Father’s Day!

Just ASK

You know when you have those experiences that seem surreal?  When you are looking at something and you feel like God is there?  Or you hear something and you get chills?  What about when someone tells you something and you start to cry with empathy? 

This is the Holy Spirit.  I know some of you right now are thinking, “Oh boy, here we go, I knew she was crazy!” 

But seriously, let’s think about this.  I believe God has a specific and individual purpose for each of us.  I believe we have our own gifts and talents and we were born for this time and place to manifest our higher calling.  But when we get here, we forget where we came from, we get caught up in things and stuff and reality TV.  We are distracted.  We are so distracted, in fact, that when someone mentions the Holy Spirit, we want to laugh or turn away because we have removed ourselves completely from our origin and our purpose.

Now maybe it’s the term, “Holy Spirit” that scares you.  I remember they used to call it, the “Holy Ghost”.  That’s really scary.  Some people call it “energy”, “karma”, “the universe”, “divine intervention”.  Regardless of name, this “something” exists.  Are you with me? 

 If you are not “with me” and you are still thinking I’m completely nuts, pay very close attention for awhile and I’m sure you’ll have a similar experience.  Now you may have a lot of unlearning to do.  We all have to let go to let God in.  We have to literally empty ourselves to make room for God. 

I know stillness is difficult but awareness can be fun.  Often, it’s just a matter of changing our minds about something.  For instance, today, if you say something like this, “Okay God, I’m ready for you to show me your presence.  I want to experience you.”  Or you could say something like, “Okay God, this lady is crazy but I’m going to humor her and try this – show me your presence today.” Either way is fine.  Actually, any way you ask is fine.  Just ask. 

 Remember, ASK stands for Ask, Seek, Knock. 

 Ask and you will receive;

seek and you will find;

knock and the door will be opened to you.

                                                                                     -Luke 11:9

 And when the door opens, TRUST and walk through it.  Make sure you open your eyes so you can see.  You won’t want to miss it.

 01 Whenever God Shines His Light-click here for a great song by Van Morrison