Along with this is a constant moving away from all things Christian; shedding the skin of my past, of the cultural givens, removing the clothing that I learned so well to wear in my youth that has become nothing more than tight fitting, if not impossible to put on. Yet, the further I move away from the “Christian” things the closer I move toward Jesus. (and I know I have just lost half of the population south of the Mason-Dixon line) From my experience, though, I am not the only one that this is happening to. And if truth is Truth, and therefore unchanging, then isn’t moving towards the personification of truth at all cost a good thing? Yeah yeah, many and most would argue the relativity of my claim, blah blah blah… enough already.
Anyway, (a most commonly used means of changing direction in the conversation), I have lately been poked about the reality, the lack of, the profundity of Risk. Not the board game, stupid.
In short I was woken up far before the sun got out of bed the other morning with G saying something along the lines of, “You don’t risk much anymore.” Try as I might to avoid dealing with such a claim, I couldn’t, cause the person asking wouldn’t let me go back to sleep. It was rather daunting, actually. It had that sense of right that was so spot on that no matter how you dodge, its impact has you in the chest; you carry a nearly pitiful, humble awareness that you’ve been found out… but it isn’t with a shaming, guilty, “you suck” tone… more of a “I am not trying to hurt you, I am trying to help you,” life-is-better-now-that-you-know tone. Like the words of one who loves me more than I do myself. Buechner says of it, “Man in his unending littleness, prepared for the worst but rarely for the best, prepared for the possible but rarely for the impossible.”
So I finally admit to all the above and let the chips fall, asking one simple question, “Where am I not taking risk?”
It was much later in the day that a sense of answer came. I was reminded of (I know this is so cliché and hip to quote) something Lucy says to Aslan after she’d been found out: ”How could I – I couldn’t have left the others and come go to you alone, how could I? Don’t look at me like that…. Oh, well, I suppose I could. Yes, and it wouldn’t have been alone, I know, not if I was with you…” It’s the “with you” part that sticks.
When I look back at all the risk I have taken – which are quite a few and huge, actually – I never really engaged the possibility (or impossibility?) of being with the One asking me into the risk in the first place. It just wasn’t in my paradigm. Why? Because as a kid I learned far too early on that I was on my own, that it was “up to me,” and no matter who said they were there for me, I never really put much weight into it. Why so? Oh that goes into family stuff, abandonment uses, etc, etc. that I have likely written about elsewhere in this blogoverse.
But here is where I think the idea of Risk takes a turn.
What if the Risk I am being asked to consider isn’t so much an outward movement – for I seem to have no fear in taking those kind of risk – but something utterly different? What if the risk I don’t take is to actually engage the Presence in the midst of the movement? What if I am not ever really alone, I’ve just never considered that some One was right there the whole damn time plucking for relationship?
And what kind of risk then is that? After all, it’s just relationship. Ah, but therein lay the trick. Any person can scale a mountain, run a race, venture the unknowns of a new country, of a new business, whatever. But to do so with some one… well that is quite another matter indeed. And not just some one, but this nutter of a person named Jesus, who seems very real and alive, even though he was supposed to be dead ages ago; and who is apparently, therein, God. It’s a risk far greater than I’ve considered, because it ultimately risks intimacy with the only one that knows me more than I do. That’s some scary shit, indeed.
Dodge as I may the life of the heart here in this blogoverse - tossing video clips about Africa or propping talented friends - Life still happens and it seems insistent upon relationships filled with risk at all manners of speaking….
PS - It has been brought to my attention that this was leading to me talking about risk in relationship - more specifically, with Jenn - and as such it could seem rather a cop-out to end up at Jesus, instead. But my experience is that for every degree of risk taken in THAT relationship, the human ones go that much more on the deep, and of course that can't help but be true with her;)