Rationality -- Part 3: Defiance / by Michael Nichols

Our society teaches us to look on the bright side of things, to believe that things are going to get better, and to do what we can to change our world to fit our desires, or at the very least to pacify ourselves through both good and evil methods. I tend to disagree: there isn't always a bright side, and things will not always improve, and you cannot always inspire improvement, nor can you ignore it away. Maybe I'm cynical for thinking this, but I don't think I'm cynical: I'm just crazy, but rest assured that I have method to my madness.

The Bright Side

No, everything does not have a bright side, but that doesn't mean to give up hope. We always tend to think of the scenarios we live through as the thing to have bright and dark sides, but this is not the truth. All temporary situations have a dark side, but it is your life that is the bright side. It was no coincidence that Jesus said, "You are the light of the world" (see Matthew 5). He wasn't kidding or understating it. Your life is radiant in a way you cannot see or even attempt to imagine, but you cannot hope to stop it or avoid it. Now let's go somewhere with this thought.

You were born to parents. The fact of your conception was a miracle, yes, and that affected your parents from the moment you happened. Whether they wanted you or not, you are a part of their life and a story they will remember through their death. If you were given up for adoption, that was also a part of their story, not just yours. If you were kept, what they did with you, how they grew you, how and how well they love(d) you is also a part of their story, something that they will carry to their grave. They have no choice even if they wished they could choose otherwise. You happened, and you changed someone's world, cast a light on a part of their life that they had not before seen, pulled pieces within them to the outside to be seen and held.

Some parents lose their children. I have seen the effects of it, though I have not witnessed the occurrence. It changes a person forever, and that isn't their choice either. Like an exploding star, a great light is cast on everything around, then the light ends, and the cold comes... but like a gas giant, the energy that emanates from this explosion can ignite deeper fires, transforming that gas giant into a star itself.

So no matter where you came from, what you do, how far you go, and how you go, you shine. Not only do you shine, but those around you shine, and we shine together! But just like the sun, some of our light is beneficial, and some of it is harmful, and too much of it can be devastating.

But then this light is always shining outward, into darkness. It was meant to fade, and the fade has a reason (see part 2).

Before I get us both lost in the metaphor, I'll just put it in plain English. You effect people whether you believe it or not, whether you like it or not. You came to people at your beginning, and you will leave people eventually, which is the hard part.

Improvement and Our Role In It

Let's go back to the whole idea of losing a child... you can't really undo that. Death happens for a reason, even though most deaths have now become disconnected from reason (see part 2, again). No, it is not good, and no, it was not originally meant to happen. God never called death "good" because death isn't something He created (see Genesis 1-3), and it's not something that can be fixed or stopped in this world (see 1 Corinthians 15).

You cannot force a tyrant to be a better person though you can force him from his throne. You cannot satisfy the hunger of a thief though you can imprison him where he cannot satisfy his cravings. You cannot make the depressed soul happy though you surround him with good and speak good into his life. It isn't up to you to make changes for people who do not see the value and therefore do not want the change, nor can they always see the merit of change in their lives or in their eyes. Sometimes, a person believes their way too hard to believe otherwise without direct intervention, and even then they do not always change because they desire things that will not satisfy them in the very end!

Pacification

Not only can we not force change, but we cannot, we cannot, we cannot make them go away by giving them what we want, and the same goes for us. No matter how many things we do to try to make the pain subside, it never really leaves. No matter how many ways we reason with ourselves, that doesn't changed the reality of your life. No matter what substances we ingest to try to eliminate the pain, it always comes back because you always sober up. That's just how our bodies work: they were made to reject poison. The irony of addictions, though, is that they come so subtly that we see them only as desires, but we don't recognize them as enslavement. This is the true nature of poison: the inability to function or discern reality; and if you cannot discern reality, you cannot defy reality.

Defiance

Can we ignore reality away? No. Can we change reality? No, hence its name. Can we deny the bleakness of reality? We can try, but in the end we always wake up. Can we defy it, though? Absolutely. Defiance isn't change, ignorance, or denial. Defiance is something completely different. Defiance says...

I know what happened. I know what is happening. I know what will probably happen. The thing is: I don't care. I won't stop. I won't give up. I will say what is on my mind. I will stand for what I believe. I won't let go of whom I love. I won't back down. I won't crumble. I won't give into the false deities of you or me. I won't give into the unreal expectations of this world, my culture, my workplace, myself. I am not perfect, but I am in love, and I will  not give it up. I will defend it. I will protect it. If you have a problem with it, then do something about it. Exile me. Reject me. Persecute me. Isolate me. Rob me. Do what you want with me because if that is the life that you have planned for me, I want no part of it. My hope is not in this world. My hope is not in myself. My hope is in the love of Jesus and the place He has prepared for me even though I don't deserve it, and that is what I want to be a part of. I am afraid, but I am too in love to listen to fear.

... Defiance says that. Defiance doesn't give up or give in. Defiance doesn't stop loving his enemies because they don't love him back. Defiance cannot die. Defiance know that evil is born to end. Defiance was crucified. Defiance rose again. Defiance teaches others how to be defiant. It doesn't ignore the truth, fight the truth, or deny the darkness. It defeats the darkness. It lives. It takes the chances it is given because it knows that chances in this life are fleeting, chances to tell people what they mean to you, let them know the impact they've had, and chances to be an impact, to give though it hasn't always received.

Defiance defies. That's is about as simple as it gets...

... And it's worth it.