Like many of you, I, too, am Tiger Woods-ed out. So, no, this post is not about him. However, I will bring up the word “transgressions”. But I promise not to mention the words “pre-nup”, “smashed cars” or “Cablinasian”.
Seriously, let’s talk about commitment. The kind that makes us willingly, happily, affirmatively say “yes” or “I do” or “I will”. At times with joyful tears, or with a fullness in our hearts. Or maybe with a teeny lump in our throat or a slight nagging doubt, but still with mighty optimism.
I wonder: Is it in our genetic makeup to commit? Are we capable of committing? Do we even know what the word means?
While yes, there’s plenty of evidence that we humans falter all the time when it comes to committing, I’ll go out on a limb and say yes, yes and yes to these questions. We make all kinds of commitments all the time. We commit to a marriage, a partnership, a vocation, a calling, a principle, a diet, a truce, a mindset, a business plan, a vision, a mission, a dream, etc. etc.
We commit with our grasping minds and our sturdy hearts and our seeking souls as constant as the ticking of the clock.
And as steady as the changing of the seasons, we commit transgressions. Transgressions that break our vow not only to others but also ourselves. Big ones. Little ones. Transgressions that leave a crack on the surface or a chip on the edge. Transgressions that sometimes smash our vitreous vows way beyond fixing.
The big ones are at times too big to forgive. They’re the ones that betray not only others but also ourselves. They keep our feet bolted to the ground, unable to go back to undo what’s done; unable to go forward as the damage, the shock, the wreckage, the pain are still unfolding, unsettled, unassessed, raw. They’re the ones that clip our wings. That handcuff our wrists. That banish us to the back of the line. Not entirely unforgivable, but still, some would say only the truly evolved or the truly foolish would forgive.
The little ones are pebbles small enough to ignore but somehow can incrementally snowball into an avalanche big enough to interrupt our course.
PSYCHOLOGICAL FORKLIFTS AND MENTAL WAREHOUSES
And thankfully, there are truly little ones, transgressions that we catch just in time before they grow too big for our psychological forklifts to shove to the back of our mental warehouse. A warehouse that over time collects pallets of past transgressions: always stored, always hidden, never truly gone.
We find ourselves drawn to the back of the warehouse from time to time. Not to rest. Never to rest as the things we find there are not tools to help us rest. Rather, it’s the opposite. They bring much unrest. We revisit often when we commit a transgression big enough to notice. Perhaps not willfully. Perhaps not deliberately. Perhaps not consciously. And still we revisit, sometimes for no reason other than it’s there — always there, always ready for a visit.
COMMITMENT AND A BLOCKED TUNNEL
Commitment is so many things to so many people. It’s life-giving, fulfilling, grounding, redemptive, joyful, hopeful and, dare I say, liberating. Yes, liberating. Commitment liberates us from uncertainty, from questions, from things in-between, from our limited ideas of blissful reality, and sometimes from ourselves.
For others it’s a curse. A hill to climb. Many miles of hard road. A blocked tunnel filled with sewage water and starved rats the size of cats.
Yet even through a blocked tunnel, there can be light. Because if we’re capable of starting a commitment with grasping minds and sturdy hearts and seeking souls, then we’re capable of finding a path more true, more sincere, more fitting than the one(s) we are on now. If we’re being true to ourselves, the light that shines through the blocked tunnel, no matter how faint at first, will show us if or when a commitment is no longer right for us.
FOREVER, HERE AND NOW
For so many reasons commitment doesn’t relate to forever. For one thing, forever is a word many declare or claim or believe, though, really, does anybody know what it is? Forever does not belong where we are; in the here and in the now. Commitment in a way trumps forever because it’s a daily vow, not a daily mystery. A word, an action that we can know and live. Forever, I don’t pretend to know.
Commitment is an active shot at getting it right everyday. A moment of renewed promise at each dawn. A hopeful breath at every sunrise. A rebirth at each morning.
At least for me, here and now. And yes, I hope for you as well.
I’m eager to hear what you think. Do you think this is a naive view of commitment? Of forever? Do you believe in forever? Do you make commitments? If so, what kind of commitments? If not, why not?
Image by Billie Hara