Monday, April 23, 2012

Pride and Prison

Here’s what Washington Post columnist Michael Gerson wrote as he reflected on the recent death of Watergate figure Chuck Colson.
“Pride is the enemy of grace, and prison is the enemy of pride.
Chuck Colson’s swift journey from the White House to a penitentiary ended a life of accomplishment — only to begin a life of significance. The two are not always the same.” 
 In life, there are many types of prison. Some we build ourselves:
  • Self-medication through drugs or alcohol. 
  • A co-dependent’s choice to live in denial rather than face a difficult realty. 
  • The inability to break free of trying to meet someone else’s expectations.
Pride is our jailer. We’re unwilling to admit, “By myself, I am powerless to change,” or  “To become my true self I must tolerate someone else’s anger or disappointment.” Or, “Not I, but the Christ in me.”
Twenty years ago, an experience took away my pride and forced me to rebuild my whole sense of self. It was painful, as I’m sure Chuck Colson’s experience with prison was.  But with the help of God’s grace, I changed fundamental ways of thinking. Therapy, journaling, prayer, exercise, and friendship helped me become, not so much new, as real. The ‘real me.’ 
What about you? Are you in a prison of your own making?
What must you do to break free? 
I hope you will think--and pray--about your answer.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Love Story

I’ve been away for a couple of weeks, visiting my elderly aunt and uncle, who are 92 and 97. Theirs is a wonderful love story.When they married,  Lucille was a pretty middle-aged widow; Art was a 62-year-old shy bachelor who shared a  smalltown home with his widowed mother and a dog.
 On his 55th birthday, he  looked in the mirror, and said, “Life is passing you by. You’ve got to do something about it.”
So Art overcame his shyness enough to get involved as a youth group leader. Then he started taking ballroom dancing lessons. On the dance floor he met Lucille. For a few years after they married, they went dancing five nights a week. To show his love for Lucille, Art began memorizing Shakespeare’s sonnets, quoting one to her each night at  bedtime. Then he began to write poetry and discovered  in himself a talent he didn’t know he had.
“Art,” I said, “You’re the only man I know who has grown younger in spirit as you’ve gotten older in years.”

And that’s my message to all of us. 
It is never too late to change our lives. All we have to do is  look at where we are, decide where we’d like to be, and put the change in motion. Is it easy? No.
Doable? YES. 
Whenever Art and Lucille smile lovingly at each other, I’m reminded of that.