“Heart and Soul”
Most parents are hard-wired to be protective of their children, from the moment a tiny hand grasps your finger to, well, forever. We want to protect them and to keep them safe. We know, intellectually, that we can’t keep our child from every hurt, whether it be illness or a broken heart or tragedy, or the consequences of their own actions, but emotionally it doesn’t compute. Join in prayer with any group of people with children age 0 to ‘maturity’ and you’ll recognize that of which I speak!
And yet we also want the fledglings to fly. We encourage them to seize opportunities, to reach higher, to meet new and different people, to embrace adventure, to experience and enjoy life fully. ‘Stand up’ we encourage, take a step. Try this new vegetable…yum. You’ll be okay, kindergarten’s fun…you’ll be ok; high school’s fun…you’ll be okay. But how often do we say ‘Go for it, take the risk, live life on the edge’?
We might admire those who have been successful in a sustained pursuit of what amounts to risky behaviour. I certainly don’t mean those who put others in danger and I don’t just mean the extreme sports enthusiast. Consider, however, the voracious reader, interested in a wide variety of subjects. Or the world traveller, seeing, experiencing other cultures or the gourmand, taste buds ready. Or the consummate volunteer, offering themselves in service or the Christian, on fire for the Lord. It’s a matter of openness to God-given opportunity.
Being open to the holy, to the Divine Lover, giving up that control we all try to hang onto, is key to growth and undoubtedly takes courage. It’s risky business to listen to God, to give the whole-ness of our lives to the Lord. Witnessing to God’s presence and love, engaging in ministry in Christ’s Name, these choices are not for the faint of heart!
Holy Scriptures speak of God in a protective role: refuge and strength, a mother hen gathering her chicks under her wings, even part of the good shepherd role, keeping the flock safe from wolves of all kinds. But our God also calls us to turn and follow unexpected paths. In fact, turning points in our lives often happen when we encounter God’s unconventional wisdom, that of the world turned upside down, reflecting God’s kingdom. We, being open to that Spirit, find ourselves risking much, perhaps all, in a radical choosing of new life in Christ over that which is less abundant. For the sake of the Gospel.