A Tipping Point

This post was used as a basis for comments made at the September 8, 2007 “chew and chat” held in Nanjemoy, MD and sponsored by participants in the Delusional Duck, a local blog.  

….. is when what seemed impossible begins to seem inevitable.  Since some of us have many impossible goals, we need to be pushing toward tipping points in relation to each of them, one at a time.

  A very wise man once said, “If you have faith  even as small as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Be uprooted and be cast into the sea,’ and it will be done for you.” The tipping point is reached when faith is exercised.

I rather think  that for many of us, the real tipping point is the decision point.  

Most people spend huge effort on the task of avoiding making actual decisions.  The capacity to make decisions, that is, to act in freedom, is the real gift of God to those made in God’s own image, the goal of faith, the point of spiritual rebirth, the evidence of spiritual maturity, and the one thing the fearful and the legalistic are most afraid of.  In the wilderness, the Israelites hated freedom, and wished for a return to Egypt, where, sure, they were slaves, but at least they ate well.   Freedom was a hard lesson to learn then, and it is now.  Then as now, people preferred safety over freedom.

   Most of us make only one or two real decisions in a lifetime.  Real decisions involve risk, involve risking the whole of oneself to a future that will be determined by the shape of the decision itself.  When and how to leave home for the first time; whom to marry; what sort of passion to pursue in life, are all points where decisions are possible.  They are also points where pressures from various sources are strong, and the decision of whether or not to let those pressures drive such a life-decision is itself a determinative decision of even more moment.   That’s why we love coming-of-age movies; we cheer for the young person who makes an actual choice in defiance of tradition, peers, crass self-interest, parents, or pressures, in favor of love or responsibility (which are ultimately the same thing) or (perhaps also the same thing)  freedom or self-determination  

But when a decision is made, in the movies or in life, a real decision where there’s no looking back, it is a tipping-point, one where everything changes, where what did look impossible now indeed looks inevitable, and the angels rejoice, for as that wise man also said:  No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the Kingdom of God.  

The wonderful thing is that every day of our lives is a day when there is a real possibility to make a decision, to be free, to take responsibility, to love for the sake of love and the beloved, to change the shape of the future, our own future, and who knows?  Perhaps the future of the world.   


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