Saturday, August 25, 2007

To Die for the Sake of Living

"Courage is almost a contradiction in terms. It means a strong desire to live taking the form of a readiness to die. 'He that will lose his life, the same shall save it,' is not a piece of mysticism for saints and heroes. It is a piece of everyday advice for sailors or mountaineers. It might be printed in an Alpine guide -- or a drill-book. This paradox is the whole principle of courage even of quite earthly or quite brutal courage. A man cut off by the sea may save his life if he will risk it on the precipice. He can only get away from death by continually stepping within an inch of it. A soldier, surrounded by enemies, if he is to cut his way out, needs to combine a strong desire for living with a strange carelessness about dying. He must not merely cling to life, for then he will be a coward, and will not escape. He must not merely wait for death, for then he will be a suicide, and will not escape. He must seek his life in a spirit of furious indifference to it; he must desire life like water and yet drink death like wine. No philosopher, I fancy, has ever expressed this romantic riddle with adequate lucidity, and I certainly have not done so. But Christianity has done more: it has marked the limits of it in the awful graves of the suicide and the hero, showing the distance between him who dies for the sake of living and him who dies for the sake of dying. And it has held up ever since above the European lances the banner of the mystery of chivalry the Christian courage which is a disdain of death; not the __________ courage which is a disdain of life."
-- Orthodoxy G.K. Chesterton

This quote is ringing in my heart strings and I'm re-reading it again and again, turning it over and over and each time finding more to understand. This one phrase, in particular speaks to me:

"he must desire life like water and yet drink death like wine."

That's how I want to live. Like a brave soldier on the battlefield of life. To crave for life...abundant life by I crave/need/require water. And yet to live with such abandon, wholely relying on His Sovereign Will that I'm careless or careFREE enough to live like I was dying. To really understand that nothing I risk for the Sake of the Cross can be anything worse than the sweet, sweet wine of death for the Believer.

1 comment:

ohiofarmgirl said...

Michele, I have read your post many days in a row...each time I just can't come up with anything to say other than I am awestruck....That's it! Dianntha