I find myself in the throes of wrestling with a handful of existential questions these days. Amongst plenty of others that will continue to develop, one emerging theme has me reflecting this morning.
Whether or not we care to admit it, all of us give our devotion to something (and sometimes many things). I know this idea floats around in different forms and motivated by different persuasive aims. But in whatever context, in so many words and with varying degrees of awareness, we all devote ourselves to the pursuit of something. Most of these are self-ascribed. Meeting our life goals; proselytizing an ideology we believe in; obtaining true love, comfort, reputation, influence, happiness, or success perhaps. And there is nothing intrinsically wrong or bad about any of these things in themselves.
“Loyalty, [devotion,] or commitment of a subordinate to a superior or of an individual to a [person,] group or cause”
Arguably, our single, most fundamental, most dignifying, most important right as human beings is getting to decide where we will pledge our inward allegiance. No matter the outward circumstances; whether born into freedom or oppression; whether in poverty or excess, our hearts will devote themselves to something. Many life paths are littered with discarded objects of allegiance, having perhaps obtained them and been left found wanting.
I’ve been thinking a lot in particular about my allegiance to Someone I can’t see, can’t understand, can’t touch or smell. I can’t attend rallies and expect to see Him wow the crowd. I can’t read His twitter feed, pre-order His next book, get tickets to His show when He comes to town, show up at His office, or call Him and hope I can get through His gatekeepers.
Allegiance to myself would be a little more straightforward, wouldn’t it? Faster. Or allegiance to a figure walking this earth today in the way that I do. Or better yet, allegiance to an ideology some smart individual has perfected. To logic and reason. To majority opinion. To science. To something incredibly pragmatic or philanthropic that anyone in their right mind should be able to get onboard with, like world peace or education for all.
I just keep hearing the stories of all who have devoted themselves to… literally anything other than Him. Watch their faces crease over time. Their exhortations become fuddled or change directions. Entire philosophical constructs, even those that echo throughout history or seem infallible, that eventually crumble.
One story remains. An unchanged bedrock surrounded by the rubble of a thousand objects of devotion. Maybe there’s something to it.