Lent is a great time for reflecting on how things are and where we would like them to be. My pondering today has been about the nature of commitment. I won’t lie, I’ve been inspired by at least one person who I feel lacks commitment (not you I hasten to add).
The kind of projects I get involved with require quite large amounts of commitment if they are to succeed. Usually the projects are either new ventures or are in some way disruptive to the normal pattern of things. Oblong in Leeds is a project which has involved the complete refurbishment of a community centre, and the staff there are impressively committed to making it work. At St Joseph’s Primary School in Keighley where we ran a school film project recently the teachers were impressively committed – yes it’s true.
It’s easy to show enthusiasm for a project and even put lot’s of energy into it, but commitment is more than that. Commitment is about taking a risk and going all the way. The commitment is usually shared with other people and so there is often a demand for compromise and trust. It’s really hard.
By definition commitment takes you to a point of no turning back – where there is no return path, all of nothing. What I see in so many areas of life is an absence of true commitment. Folk will work hard and be totally professional, but only to a point. Even in family relationships there is a growing tendency to believe that you can get out at the first sign of trouble, there’s an escape route.
So why am I reflecting on this now? I suppose it’s because I have been examining my own commitment to the things I believe in and the people I relate to. My track record is chequered. More and more I feel as though I don’t want to be bothered unless I can be really committed. Why be half involved with something? There are people in my life who deserve my wholehearted commitment, without question. Maybe there are people who don’t!
Lack of commitment shows itself in an unwillingness to change, and as we all know change is necessary for the survival of all of us. People without commitment often appear dull or lacking in energy. To stand still is to wither away and risk is an inevitable part of being alive. And where people are concerned that change might also involve forgiveness.
So my promise to myself through lent is to give up the things that don’t mean much and to be more committed to the things that do. To be unafraid of taking risks or embracing change, and to be forgiving.
I’m not saying I’ll succeed but I’ll try.