Anyone who has know me for an extended period of time knows that I have three foundational non-negotiable rules in life. I came up with them years ago and it has been the source of much amusement for my friends and family. They are as follows.
1) Jay does not dance.
This one was mostly implemented as a safeguard for my pride but there was an additional element of safety for those around me. I am a giant and a misstep could crush a group of people in no time flat.All it takes is for one stray elbow to go wild and suddenly happy dance party has become a race to the E.R. ... or at least that is how it always plays out in my mind.
2) Jay does not share food.
I'm not sure this needs any sort of breakdown on it because I am pretty sure this is a man law. If I've got a plate, that plate is sovereign territory. Your fork is an unauthorized enemy aircraft invading the neutral zone and I am authorized to shoot it down and the incident will be seen as an act of aggression
3 Jay does not run.
I've hated running. It's awful. You intentionally get up and drain all your energy going no-place in particular. And you can feel it in your lungs afterwards... awful.
Or so I used to think.
I have these rules and I don't even follow them anymore. I was at a friends wedding and even though I don't know how to dance, I danced anyway with my sister in law. Sure there was alcohol involved, but it was a wedding celebration. I even got comments later on what a great dancer I was ( much to my shock.) There were other moments when the air was right, and time slows and you feel the moment. I dance. That part of my old heart is gone and now I do it on occasion because I want to. ( and because occasionally alcohol is involved )
As for sharing food, something changed in me. What kind of Italian doesn't share food? I look back at that how far I have come from it. I see the blessings of sharing with others and feeding people what little I have to share. The fellowship of eating a meal together is a powerful moment of bonding. That part of me that says " all for me, stay away" has died so much. It isn't all gone but there isn't much there anymore.
I've always joked that I would rather punch a bear than run from it. In life I have had the notion that I cant think of anywhere that I would need to be in such a hurry that it wouldn't still be there when I got there.
That part of my heart is still there, however there are cracks in the stone of the stronghold.
I know a woman who is a runner. Initially she started talking about running as her passion and I wont lie that my initial thought was something to the effect of "Pshhhh, good luck with that. I applaud you but I don't want anything to do with that" As I hung out with her, her passion was undeniable. It was something that she loved., LOVES. I would sit and think, why? How? how does someone love that? It was a part of her that I didn't understand but, I wanted to. It aroused a curiosity in me about it. I'd ask questions here and there trying to get an understanding and just letting her know that even though this thing wasn't for me, I at very least respected it in her. I watched how dedicated she is to it. How excited she got about it. How much fun she has. How her life is when she can't go do it. I'm pretty sure all she saw was the blank bored look on my face that masked the respect and inspiration building behind my eyes. I listened to some things even though I didn't understand. One day she was pouring out her words matching the subject that is a part of her heart and as they splashed over me something dripped into the cracks of that stronghold in my heart. I remembered something that I had forgotten from when I was a young young boy. The freedom.
I remember i used to be so fast that the neighborhood kids would talk. I would run everywhere and I would climb anything and I swear to my young mind I was unstoppable.
The life of this woman testified something to me. Her life testified of life.
I walked down to get my taxes filed today and on my way home I stopped over at a baseball field duggout where I tend to do some thinking and meditation. I thought about her, and my rules, and who I am and who I was. I thought about what I want.
That answer is freedom.
With that answer I thought, I want to run right now. I looked over at the people playing soccer and then over at the people running track and for a moment I paused. For a second I didn't want them to see me running. Some people have made fun of me before and I don't want them to look at me. I don't want this and I don't want that. But I want freedom. So, I ignored them all. The people, the thoughts, the insecurities. I just ran. I started slow and started a light jog. Then I thought, I want to run fast. So I ran fast. Then I thought, I want to run completely uninhibited and free..
and I did. It was awesome.
Sitting here writing all this I think about the commands of God. The rules. "Pshhhh, you can not eat pork all you want. Good luck with that." Pshhhhh, you can forgive people all you want, i applaud you but that has nothing to do with me " What if god set before us things and he says " this is freedom. This is liberty. " and we say in our heart, " I don't want anything to do with that." Our Lives and our passions are testifying something. Our actions and the impressions we give, They speak louder than words.
Are we passionate about the Words and the way of God? Do our lives proclaim that message?
Are we willing let go of the strongholds of our demands, our set ways, our arbitrary rules.. and walk in the liberty and freedom that is submission to God.
Who would have though I would have enjoyed running. God can save us all.