Tuesday, June 20, 2006


Commitment. Faithfulness. Inertia. Flexibility. The continuum of - or maybe I should say - spectrum of relationship applies not only to relationships with people or with God, but also to relationships with organizations, programs, causes. We have different words to describe our various kinds of relationships, but describing these relationships is much like a consumer survey where 10 is absolutely true and 1 is absolutely not true; you pick a number on a scale.

All my relationships have a place on that scale. My commitment to my partner is a 10 (in lots of ways). My commitment to God is also a 10, but my commitment to the organized church is probably a 5 right now. The key words here are "right now"; commitment changes; it waxes and wanes. I was totally committed to my marriage, but circumstances produced a change, and that marriage no longer exists. I was totally committed to the Episcopal Church, more specifically, to St. Anne's Episcopal Church. Circumstances produced a change, and my commitment to St. Anne's is probably a 2 right now, especially since I don't live in that town or attend that church any longer. I still care about what happens there and about its ministries, but I'm no longer a part of that.

As my life changes (and that's the only constant I know), I find that my commitment to various causes changes also. For several years, I worked with a telephone hotline, CONTACT, designed to give people who had problems a safe and anonymous place to talk about situations. Then, I returned to school and had to spend my volunteer time studying. My commitment waned.

Over the years I have participated in various recovery programs (and I use the term "recovery" in a broad sense). My needs have been multiple, and each turn of life has required more emphasis in one spot and less in others. A single recovery program has not been able to provide the direction and support that I needed through life. So my commitment to various "recovery" programs has changed as I changed.

I spent a number of happy years involved in little theatre and a few years with a historical society. They filled needs in my life in different ways. I spent a good many years involved with theology and crammed my mind, heart and soul with lots of stories and concepts and commitments. I still theologize about things a lot; it's become a habit, possibly a good habit (and many of my habits are bad).

A few constants exist in my life - my partner, God, making the world a better place. My commitment to these always rank a 10. But, I guess I'm attention deficit when it comes to almost everything else. My commitment moves along that scale of 10 to 1 (and sometimes down to zero) as my life's journey continues. I enjoy that movement, and I enjoy the diversity of life - of causes, people, programs, and organizations. But, diversity is a topic for later.

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