For a few very hard years this word was my mantra.
The word means
-undismayed; not discouraged; not forced to abandon purpose or effort
-undiminished in courage or valor; not giving way to fear
But the truth is, I was often dismayed by everything that had taken place, and I did battle discouragement. I battled fear and doubts. I hurt and was angry, and sometimes "undaunted" sounded more like a mockery than a mantra, and I was determined to be real about all of it in these posts, thus the name, Undaunted Reality. More than that, though, I was determined to live undaunted, not because I'm so great or strong, but because my God is, and no matter what this world looks like, He is the only reality that matters.
I pray I live the reality of Him beautifully undaunted.

Monday, September 8, 2014

On the Road to Hope with Miss Daisy

Dear Fallon,

Today I watched Driving Miss Daisy with the kids. It is one of our all time favorites.

It's the craziest kind of movie. It can terrify you so much you never want to marry or settle you down to your soul and pour courage you thought long gone and makes you sure marriage is a beautiful thing and you can really do this.

Of course, Miss Daisy and Hoke never marry, and yet, they kind of do, and in their never made official marriage, I find my fears and my hopes of ever trying such a thing again.

My fear are the differences, and my lands, don't they have enough to work with. Differences can create chasms and build walls and create their own miserable environment. Sort of like the flu bug that invades our bodies and makes us hate being alive at moments. But despite the differences, they found common ground, and I know, one could argue that they didn't exactly have a choice because Boolie wasn't going to let the situation go. Except they did have a choice. They could have chosen to be arrogant toward one another. They could have chosen to judge each other and see each other through preconceptions, like Miss Daisy did when Hoke ate the salmon, but instead, they learned to grow and understand. They accepted and acclimated.

Last week I wrote an essay about the fruit of the Spirit. Forbearance is the one fruit no one wants to pray for. I think it's because it demands so much change from ourselves. It demands that we understand where someone is and who they are and maybe why. It demands that we consider the possibility we are the ones who are wrong and are in fact, the grating part and we may be in the process of changing and the better version of ourselves. Forbearance isn't just tolerance. It's an active effort to demonstrate love despite any affliction we feel.

The truth is neither Miss Daisy nor Hoke changed a lot, not in general expression. Miss Daisy was still the blunt-speaking woman at the end she had been throughout the movie. She still had her opinions on how things should be, and she didn't mind telling folks. Except, she had changed. She had become appreciative and deeply grateful. Instead of keeping walls up, she ventured into his world, and she let him into hers. They made the vegetable garden like he had suggested, and when he offered to pick up the spoon to feed her pie, she didn't refuse or fuss. She moved her hand and let him feed her.

And he did.

He was no longer just a man trying to do an honest day's work for an honest day's pay. He wasn't just a driver tolerating the woman he had been hired to tend. He was the man who tried to find the door into her pain by sharing about his friend's dad being lynched as she grappled with Temple being bombed. He was the man who could have stayed home in the ice storm but instead brought her coffee because he knew her routine, and when she said, "There's nothing to do but keep me company," he smiled and said he would start a fire. Obviously her company was what he wanted anyway.

This is the man who had no fear about getting in her face when she had a break in faculties and couldn't find the papers for her students, the man who, instead of trying to coddle her, put a finger in her face and told her to pull herself together because he knew she had it in her to pull it together. Yeah, he had a job to lose if she didn't, but I think he was far more concerned about his friend than his job.

Interestingly, that is when she looked at him and said, "Hoke, you're my best friend."

And there you go. My hope.

After the things my husband said when he told me he wanted a divorce, I went through a period when I hoped for someone who thought I was perfect, but I don't hope for that anymore. Perfection is a prison because it doesn't allow for change or growth for either person. It's a lie of security that really just suffocates.

Now I hope for more. I hope for the differences and the forbearance to weather them. I hope for the determination to understand, accept, and acclimate. I hope for someone to find his way into my pain when I can't find my way out, and I hope he thinks the silly things are the endearing things. My hope of someone patient knowing I'm changing too and rough places are being smoothed, someone who knows when to tell me to step up and knows when I can't. Someone who thinks my company is enough.

Like I said, I know they were not married, and the cynics will say a marriage couldn't have survived such an environment, but a marriage has to survive that kind of environment or it will develop into that environment or worse. If two people don't respect, accept, and acclimate, they will grow intolerant. If they don't choose to find a way in, they will ultimately look for a way out. If the silly things aren't endearing, they will become irritating. If someone's company isn't enough, they will never be able to do enough to be the company you want.

People make the mistake of thinking love is something you feel. It's not. It's choosing to live a certain way.

Choosing to love more abundantly,


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