“Enthusiasm dies with the words, ‘What will people think?’ ” Author Unknown
You know where you are with a lion. A lion sleeps a lot and when it is not sleeping it likes nothing better than to devour (preferably recently alive) animals. It’s wild where the lions roam, but at least you know where you are with a lion.
People, on the other hand, are not as straightforward.
People are not reliable, anymore than you or I are always consistent. Parents, friends, colleagues, not to mention strangers who have no business affecting our lives, they can all act, well, strange.
It’s not just politicians who don’t make good on their promises, or actors who pretend to be someone they are not. People we know, we, can be like this too. For these reasons and the longer we live, the more acceptable it can seem to build a moat around ourselves leading to a large locked door hung with this clear direction,
The problem with this moat and drawbridge approach is that, although we are seemingly safer, we are also left locked up, locked down.
“Don’t talk of love, Well I’ve heard the word before; It’s sleeping in my memory. I won’t disturb the slumber of feelings that have died. If I never loved I never would have cried. I am a rock, I am an island.” from I Am A Rock by Paul Simon
Asleep, entombed, frozen, untouchable. If I never loved, if I never believed, if I never trusted, if I never had faith. And now I have, see what I have lost…
You can almost hear the fortress walls being built, higher and higher, until there is no way to see beyond to the wildness out there. Out there where the people live and the lions roam free to devour at will.
So if love or friendship can leave us for dead, what else is there to do but to withdraw and batten down the hatches? Perhaps we need to find a way to love that reduces the risk of heart failure.
‘If our devotion is to the cause of humanity, we will be quickly defeated and broken-hearted, since we will often be confronted with a great deal of ingratitude from other people. But if we are motivated by our love for God, no amount of ingratitude will be able to hinder us from serving one another.’ Oswald Chambers, My Utmost For His Highest
I don’t think the people that make up the circle of our daily lives are ever going to become more reliable, anymore than I will ever see a lion happily making a meal out of carrots and snow peas. But what if we run to another fortress when we are wounded, rather than building our own?
“I love you, God— you make me strong. God is bedrock under my feet, the castle in which I live, my rescuing knight. My God—the high crag where I run for dear life, hiding behind the boulders, safe in the granite hideout.” Psalm 18 v1-, The Message
Here is the secret to staying alive, even where lions roam free.