#3: The Price of Love

Courage, I’ve suggested, is living with heart.  With you heart fully engaged.  Fully invested.  Fully in play.

Some would argue that to live this way is expensive. Costly. Reckless. Even dangerous.

I agree.

To live with your heart withheld is costly, too.

There’s no living without paying prices.  Give your heart; there are prices.

Hide your heart from your own life and other prices are paid.

So, let’s examine prices that living with heart exacts.  Just to be clear about it.  Whenever you care about anyone and anything, you invest some of yourself. The more deeply you care, the more of you, you invest.

Initially, maybe, all you invest are thoughts and ideas about what could be.  What this could mean.  What it could become.

Before long, you begin to entertain how you might be affected. How you might contribute.  The good that could come out of it all.  How you might benefit… if it all works out.

As you do, you give yourself permission to see it.  To see as possible what this could lead to. What it could turn into…

And, as hearts are wont to do, your heart gets gripped.  Not only do you see this as preferable, you begin to love what this might be.  Now wanting it, you give yourself to it, a bit at a time.  Giving more of yourself as you go. Your time.  Your focus. Your attention.  As you pour yourself into having it happen… you are changed.  Some of what had captured your attention no longer does.

People notice.

No longer repressing your enthusiasm, you invite others in with you.

Some back away.  They want nothing to do with your stupid dream.

Many others are satisfied to stay on the slideline, amused maybe,

watching to see what will happen…

whether your dreams will be dashed or fulfilled…

waiting to see if it’s “safe” to join you.

And, a few are enrolled.  They choose in.  Into the possibility of what could be.  As they do, your relationships change.  The stakes are now higher. Greater.  “If this thing goes south…”, you catch yourself thinking, “a lot of people could get hurt.”  “And, if we succeed…”

Momentum seems to come from nowhere.  Connections appear in surprising ways.  Provision arrives unexpectedly.  It’s like there’s a wind at your back, propelling you forward. You feel alive.  Energized.  Hopeful.  Life seems to open up before you, to expand.

At the same time, loved-ones caution you not to get in too deep. Remember the movie Rudy? The scene at the bus station when Rudy’s decision to try to get into Notre Dame is confronted by his father: “Chasing a stupid dream causes you and everyone around you nothing but heartache…” You’ve heard the message, too:  Don’t go too far.  Don’t move so fast.  What about the risks?  What if this doesn’t work?  Don’t you care about us?

All along the way, with your heart engaged, you are paying prices. You set aside the predictable, the familiar, the safe.  You wade into foreign waters.  So much is unknown, untested, uncertain.  Disappointments come, as they must.  Setbacks catch you off-guard.  Betrayals stun you.  Backlash comes from unexpected sources.  Supporters withdraw.  Criticisms that began as a whisper grow in ferocity.  You feel alone.

Each time, your hopeful heart is nicked. Lanced.  Pierced. Wounded.  Assaulted.

You want to pull back, dis-invest, protect yourself, be reasonable, find balance, cut your losses.  Most of all, you want to rescue your heart from the hurt.

C.S. Lewis in The Four Loves, writes: “Love anything and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken.  If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one…”

To live and lead with courage is to love so much that your heart is vulnerable to being “wrung and possibly broken”.  And yet, when your heart is wrung, or broken, you choose to keep it engaged. Silencing your survival instincts, trusting God to heal and strengthen your heart, you keep giving yourself — fully – to your life.

This is no small matter.  If it were, the world would be full of powerfully courageous leaders.  Imagine if the Church – even your church – was a gathering place, and equipping place, a sending place for leaders like this…