be

what would you die for?

6 Apr 2012

for me, today is all about passion. surrender. and trust.

    • passion for a cause, or a belief, that is so strong that one is wiling to risk his or her life – literally or figuratively.
    • surrender to a life of non-violence, peace-making, and love for others… instead of power, violence, greed, and love only for one’s self.
    • and trust that, in all things – even the worst possible moments – good can arise, transformation is possible, and love ultimately wins… call it karma, call it faith, call it universal truth.

because i believe in these things (passion, surrender, and trust), i can face the darkness of today. the darkness of life. naive as it may sound, i know (not in a “i know more than you, you should believe me” kind of knowing, but it a “this is a very personal, from deep within my soul, unexplainable, spirit-driven, buddha-ish enlightenment” kinda knowing) that darkness does not win.

today, i am celebrating good friday. not a good & happy day in itself, but a day that looks ahead to sunday – the third day, a day to celebrate new life, new beginnings (hence the name “good” friday).  in sweden today is  called “långfredagen” = long friday (fits a little better, i think). it is a long day, if i allow myself a chance to reflect instead of pushing right on toward all the good stuff waiting for me on sunday. it’s typical of humans, though, to not want to face the darkness, the suffering, and the pain in our lives. but, i am one of those weirdos (call me emo or something) who wants to soak up today for all that it is. i’m not morbid. but, somewhere, somehow in my life, i learned that in order to fully understand & feel the joy in life, we must have the pain. light is only as bright as it is, when contrasted with the darkness. spring only seems so beautiful because we struggled through the dark, cold winter. get my drift? i don’t exactly understand this ying & yang, this balance between the black & white… it is a mystery. but, nevertheless, the balance is a beautiful mystery, i think.

 a rainy, snowy, gray good friday in sweden.

for me, good friday is about remembering the passion, surrender, trust, and death of jesus. essentially, the day that God experienced exactly what we experience, as human beings: pain, suffering, betrayal, hopelessness, fear, abandonment, and death. whether one believes in jesus as being fully human & fully divine at the same time or not, i believe that there is no argument that this was a man who, according to the accounts we have, lived passionately his mission in life, staying true to himself at all times – spreading a message of love and hope. a man who surrendered his needs and wants, his fears and doubts to a higher purpose. a man who trusted in the power of love over anything else and faced his death; even though, in the end, he did not completely understand the suffering and abandonment he experienced. he passionately surrendered, & trusted anyway.

and there are so many others who have followed in his footsteps… martin luther king, jr. mother theresa. ghandi. but not only those we always think of… there are also many today (known & unknown) who put their lives on the line for a cause or a belief – facing violence, bullying, prison, even death. the protesters in egypt last year, those standing up against racial and/or sexual discrimination, the 99% protesters in the states, holocaust survivors, haitian women fighting for political & social equality, teenagers at my internship who have turned their lives around & now want to give back… the list goes on and on.

the point is, we don’t have to be someone famous or rich to change the world, to make a difference. in our everyday lives, we have a choice. will we live passionately, true to ourselves, surrendering our own lives, trusting in the power of love? or won’t we? will we open our eyes to see the possibilities and opportunities to share love, hope, justice, & peace all around us, or won’t we? just a smile, just an ear to listen, just a tiny gesture or love to someone in our family, to a friend, to a stranger.. that’s all it takes. we don’t have to be burned at the stake, but some of us will be. and we will be bullied. we will face violence. we will be surrounded by darkness. confusion. pain. suffering. it may be our own, or it may be another’s.

the question is, will we give up? or will we keep fighting? will we turn and run, afraid & pissed off? or will we remain steadfast & true to ourselves? will we live with passion & love… even to the point of death?*

quote of the day:

you can choose understanding over anger, believing over nonbelieving, [non-violence over violence], action over inaction. it gives meaning to every choice we make.”

~ Yolanda King (human rights activist & Martin Luther King, Jr’s daughter).

*and by death, i mean literally (because some people do die for what they believe in) and figuratively (ex. dying to our plans so that we can live a more authentic life).

sending you peace & courage to make it through the darkness.

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No Comments

  • Reply southernhon 6 Apr 2012 at 12:36

    Good post. We have to have pain and darkness in order to appreciate the light.
    I really like that picture quote you posted.
    Happy Friday!

    • Reply liz 6 Apr 2012 at 13:31

      thank you for stopping by and for your comment! wishing you a happy friday too. 🙂

  • Reply nicolehandschin 6 Apr 2012 at 14:18

    Thx for such inspiring words. Better than many a good Friday sermon I’ve heard in my years. From one weirdo to another: happy Easter

    • Reply liz 6 Apr 2012 at 15:51

      i love you, nic. <3 happy easter!

  • Reply Carissa 6 Apr 2012 at 15:00

    So powerful. I just LOVE the three points/themes you wrote at the top: Passion, Surrender, Trust. What a brilliant way to sum up the life and death of Jesus! And the rest of your reflection was just so fitting for today in a way that anyone could relate to, whether Christian or not.

    Also, I wish we English-speakers would switch to calling today “Long Friday,” too. It makes way more sense. I learned recently that “Good Friday” comes from Old English when “good” meant “God be with you,” so the day sort of meant “God’s Friday.” That makes a little bit more sense, but I feel like the Swedes really got it right.

    • Reply liz 10 Apr 2012 at 08:43

      Thank you so much Carissa. Those three points just came to me as I began writing… I’d never thought of it this way before, but it just seemed right. 🙂

  • Reply Natalie Alner 8 Apr 2012 at 20:43

    Your post touched me deeply. I think living true to who you are is the most profound truth any human being can follow and not it’s not the easiest of things to do. Requires honesty and courage as one needs to face one’s true nature and acknowledge it. Stop lying to ourselves and you are right, the pain is the fear melting away. I am in still in the process of acknowledging and the pain is there every single moment of every single day, but I’d never have it any other way.

    Passion, surrender and trust summarise in an elegant and succinct way the process; you know you have an amazing way with words.

    My only slight objection is the title, not because I don’t know what you mean but because we as human beings are taught from a very small age what we need to die for. Our history is full of people who died for ideas, sometimes abstract ideas not worth dying for. Our world is in such a mess because we have so many people ready to die for what they believe, trying in the process to convert or kill everyone else too. I’d prefer if we were taught that we need to learn how to find things to live for. Because finding passion for something is equal to finding a reason to live.

  • Reply liz 10 Apr 2012 at 08:58

    Natalie, I hesitated with the title for a while, actually. i did not want it to be a “go out & die for what you believe in” kind of thing… because as an American (my perspective), i found myself thinking about those who died & killed thousands of others with them on sept. 11, 2001 because of what they believed… how things can get so screwed up when we believe something so strongly that we force our beliefs on others, resulting in horrible acts of vengeance & terror. no, i did not want to focus on that.

    at the same time, it was good friday… and i was thinking so deeply about people i know of (or know) personally, who have been so passionate about living (justice, equality, peace, love), that they have been willing to put their life on the line. people who have lived non-violent lives, willing to give their life over to the “greater good”. not planning on dying, but being killed as a result of their passion.

    i completely agree with you, that life is for living and passion is a word that has to do with soaking up life, living life to the fullest, and using life to create a better life for ourselves and for others. whether i understand it or not, the fact is, there are some amazing people who have been willing to die for those things (martin, luther king, jr, for example). not wanting to seek out death, but to live life so fully and to believe so deeply in love, that their mission, their sacrifice has become a testament of love.

    as for me personally, on good friday, i was writing about dying figuratively as well. i have a book that i am slowly, slowly working on that is about my life over the past 4-5 years. in essence it is a memoir, a story, about how i once lived, how i died to myself, and how i found a new life… true to who i am. it’s not about new life in the religious sense that we hear about all the time. it’s about my soul. about being trapped and giving up everything in my life, completely changing everything in my life, losing everything, and finding my true voice… the real me. and the courage to simply be me. it was a kind of death… death to the expectations that everyone had of me, so that i could be free to live life passionately. so, i was also thinking about myself and my “death” on good friday as well… the death, the loss, that eventually gave me my soul back.

    i am so thankful for you & for your words & thoughts, natalie. you inspire me & encourage me to think. i’m really grateful that we’ve crossed paths in this blog world. 🙂

    peace.

    • Reply Natalie Alner 15 Apr 2012 at 23:15

      Just saw your reply, Liz, sorry for the delay. For some reason WordPress didn’t notify me about a reply as it usually does. 🙂

      The book you are writing sounds amazing and as soon as you publish it, I’ll go and buy it. I guess I am now where you were a few years ago. A figurative death it is, but I am a bit hesitant to use that term as I have (and still am) fighting depression and all the nasty self-destruction tendencies springing from it. What I prefer to say is that I am deconstructing my life, throwing away everything and preparing to start from scratch with nothing except what I carry in my head. Now that’s one of the scariest things I have ever done to be honest but either I will change and live true to who I am with a meaningful life or die trying. You can probably see the pattern now and why I avoid concentrating on death too much.

      I am also very glad I found you on this blog world. Sometimes life makes no sense and all you need are signposts to point in the correct direction. Your words have provided many times those signposts and I am so grateful for that and I am also grateful for you. You also inspire and encourage me. 🙂

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