Because of the two weddings Bob and I recently attended, the idea of commitment has been on my mind.
I love weddings and witnessing couples affirm their love for each other and then dare to commit to journey together into the future—for better or for worse.
As with the marriage vow, sometimes when we commit to writing a book or some other act of creation, we do so with the naiveté of the untried and the untested. Or, we commit even though we know the risks of failure are as great as the risks of success. Still, we commit with optimism and hope, and with that tender belief in happy endings.
But remember “…for better or for worse…”?
It’s a warning and a reminder that any commitment, even the ones a couple in love make to each other, is not a magic shield against hurt, disappointment, betrayal or grief. The warning reminds us that life—and love—is not a promise of the happy ending. Unless we are willing to work for it.
Commitment requires work. Down in the trenches, teeth clenched, getting-up-every-day-and-working-at-it-no-matter-what work. Whether the commitment is to a job, a relationship, or a book. Even when the sex appeal of the the project or relationship wanes and determination falters. Even when we wonder, “ WHY AM I DOING THIS?”
Oh sure, there are reasons not to give up—like making a living, leaving a legacy, supporting our children, making a difference in the world, keeping our word.
But sometimes the challenges and the trials can be so numerous or painful that the desire to break the commitment really strains the strength of the commitment.
So what makes us stick it out in the midst of the “for worse”?
And why, oh why would we ever take the risk of that commitment in the first place?
Because, the commitment, along with its better and worse, has the potential to call forth the best that is in us.
The commitment offers us an opportunity for our souls to grow. For our worlds to expand.
Committing to your writing in spite of day jobs and rejections and bad reviews and family and friends that just don’t get it and then sticking with it provides a soul ride that is both exhilarating and terrifying. And we stay with it because somewhere deep inside we long and hope for a happily-ever-after of our own.
The groom at one of the weddings we recently attended had decided that he was never going to marry.
Nope, marriage and its commitments were just not for him.
Until the day he stood before hundreds of people and vowed to love his bride for better or for worse, with joy lighting his face and every word of his vow. He’d arrived at the moment of his happily-ever-after.
Because he understood that there are relationships, opportunities and projects worth making a commitment to, that will grow his soul and expand his world.
Like his bride.
What about you? What creative commitment do you need to make?