Reason is a friend of mine. I visit her regularly and make a habit of introducing her to just about everything in my life. From traffic patterns to toddler tantrums, my world craves reason. When the cars are piled up on I-5 at 11am on a Saturday, there must be a reason. Google and I figure out what Seattle event is behind the highway madness. In the middle of a fit by my four-year-old, I pluck from my tantrum reason bouquet that is full of beauties like fatigue, fever, boredom and feeling left out.
Reason and I get along beautifully. She comes along and neatly orders my world, offering the comfort that comes with making sense of things.
But, every once in a while, she gets in the way of things.
Sometimes, Reason stands me up. She doesn’t show up when I think she is supposed to, and leaves me out in the cold without answers.
When life’s crushing waves roll in one right after another, knocking me down just as I start to get my footing from the last one, Reason is nowhere to be found. Just as the job wave settles, the diagnosis one comes. The money wave strikes; the marriage one on its heels. I look to Reason to hold me up.
But, Reason, she just stands on the shore watching, not daring to dip her toes in the constant tide of troubles.
It’s as if Reason knows her limits. Sometimes, she can explain things like traffic and toddlers. But, sometimes her place is on the shore, with her feet planted firmly in the sand. She must let breaking waves do their breaking. She must stand by idly and let me sink my feet deep in the stuff that is has nothing to do with her. Instead of coming to my rescue, she must let me crash hard into faith.
Because she knows that is what I need to stand back up after the waves, to emerge unbroken.
Reason is a frustratingly remarkable friend. I want her to be there with me always. But, she only comes when she will make things better. And she stays away when she knows that she will mess things up.
I want her to run into the waves and use her strength to lift me up over this inexplicably messy plane of life and gently set me down in her sensible and predictable plane.
But Reason is one of those annoyingly wise characters like Mr. Miyagi who uses her power selectively – only for good.
Her abandonment leaves me frustrated. But only for a time. Because when the calm waters come again, I stand in awe of her ability to know just when I need her.
Once the waves have passed, I see that Reason can’t help me:
love someone more when I know their deepest flaws
trust in less instead of more
invite question marks and turn away periods
let go, then let God
stand grateful in the breaking waves
face in the space of grace
And because she always knows her place, Reason knows that the only way to live like this – to love, trust, invite, let go, stand and face life like this – is to withstand the waves without her.
Reason knows that she must abandon me in the deep so that I can come back up, unbroken.
Reason. She’s an unlikely friend who knows just when I need her and just when I don’t.