or, Why Did Wizard Academy Build a Free Wedding Chapel?
Irrational commitment is a powerful thing. It is the stuff of heroes. Legends live because of it.
And like anything powerful, it can be turned toward darkness.
But let us look toward the light.
Francis Bacon (1561-1626) made a fascinating observation during the days of Cervantes (1547-1616): Philosophy is based on reason and is, therefore, rational. Faith is based on revelation and is, therefore, irrational. Consequently, the greater the impossibility of the thing you believe, the greater the honor to God.
Faith is an irrational commitment of the heart, the pattern-recognizing right brain, not the deductive-reasoning left.
In Cervantes’ book Don Quixote de la Mancha, our hero makes an irrational commitment to a common village girl who doesn’t even know he exists. To the rest of us, there’s nothing special about Aldonza Lorenzo. But in the mind of Quixote she embodies everything that is good and right and true. He sees in her a princess and calls her his lady Dulcinea.
Quixote’s irrational commitment to Dulcinea gives him vision and focus and purpose.
Do you make your commitments in your rational mind, or in your irrational heart?
Quixote makes himself a fool for Dulcinea, and in her name accomplishes many impossible things.
Doing the impossible is easy when you’re utterly committed and have pushed aside your logical mind.
Here’s an example of an irrational commitment made by 56 men, 230 years ago:
“And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”
Lady Liberty was their Dulcinea.
Here’s another irrational commitment:
“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America…”
America is a Lady, not a place. And many have given their lives for her honor.
But here, I believe, is the best irrational commitment of them all:
“…for better, for worse,
for richer, for poorer,
in sickness and in health,
to love and to cherish,
till death us do part.”
In case I haven’t made it clear: I am in favor of irrational commitment. “It is not good… to be alone.”
On June 7, 1947, Paul Compton made an irrational commitment to Jean Johnson and in later years he would be called to deliver on his promise: Alzheimer’s disease stole Jean from Paul, but left her frail body in his care. Strengthened only by the memory of their years together, Paul faced the never-ending job of caring for her empty shell 24 hours a day. And he did it without complaint for 20 long years.
I’ve never known a better man.
Paul and Jean had 4 daughters, all of whom work shoulder-to-shoulder with their husbands and have done so for more than 30 years. Miraculously, each of the girls is still married to her first husband, though none of those husbands is a prize. Trust me, I know them all. I’m the 18 year-old boy with no money and no future who married the youngest daughter.
If you would taste truth and beauty and grace, you must reach for the fruit of a tree planted deep in the soil of irrational commitment.
I wish you good fortune on your journey.
Roy H. Williams