Violence or Distance?
March 4th, 2013 by Agent Kevin Miller
I’ve just realized a truth about myself. I’m a violent man. When a trial presents itself in my life, I’m naturally inclined to choose violence. Instead of…going the distance.
There’s a movie called ‘Lawless’ about some bootlegging brothers during the prohibition-era. Lots of shooting and wounding. A quote that happens fairly early on from the older brother to the younger, during a quip about vengeance is this, “It is not the violence that sets a man apart. It is the distance he is willing to go.”
I paused the movie, as I’m prone to do (drives my family crazy, though didn’t/wouldn’t watch this with them) and wrote it down. It hit me and at the time I didn’t know why. It kept itching at me…
The itch got bigger this morning as I was corresponding with a guy who knows what he’d like to do vocationally and business wise. He knows it would fulfill him and be a glorious intersection of his heart and work and life. And thus I know…to find him actually doing it would result in finding him being more whole. More filled with his glory and the ability to pour glory out into others. I just don’t believe that’s a luxury and optional. I think it’s necessary. But he’ll have to commit to a long road…
So what I found out about violence is, it’s force, and force is an exertion of strength or power. Most of the time when faced with something hard, angering, shameful, frustrating, lacking or hurtful, I resort to my strength or power (often just my perceived perspective of power). I grit my teeth and endure, or rail against, or wall up or any number of things.
Instead of…going the distance. That’s always harder.
Violence…exerting my own strength and power is natural. And I can endure a lot. Even worse, I think I like aspects of it. My desire for adventure and adrenaline may actually feed this inclination. It’s great for the battlefield, not so good for the rest of life.
Going the distance is the big sigh of resignation…to step back. Sit down. Let go. Ask for help. Admit feelings and fears. And commit to the long road of healing, restoration, discovery and building something better.
And to be realistic, as I write I’m thinking about literal areas in my life:
- My marriage
- My faith in and following of and dependence in Christ
- My parenting
- My finances
- My home
- My work
- My lifestyle design at large
The other day I wrote down a list of things I want to progress in. Things I want BETTER for. And they included most of those areas above.
Now I have to discern what distances I must commit to in order to achieve any levels of success.
If I won’t commit to the distance, no matter what, then I’m choosing the violence of staying where I am. A place I’m not at peace with settling for.
I wrote in a blog last week that our communications must include a big idea, nuts & bolts, entertainment and hope. So I’m looking at this and wondering what the hope is. It doesn’t feel so hopeful. It mainly feels…hard.
For me, I have to project a year or five years down the road to what my reality will be if I choose to stay put…in the violence. And what it would be if I commit and go the distance. Ugh. Easier and natural to just settle for 2nd best, justify that my current mediocrity isn’t so bad, then medicate that lie by reading about and watching others go the distance, eh?
What about you? Do you…will you…choose violence and stay put…or commit to go the distance and move away from and out of…the violence?