Be a Hero

A friend comes to you for advice. He's 30 years old and--despite a fear of commitment--is finally thinking about settling down. Then his girlfriend finds out she's got cancer. So your friend wants to know: should he cut and run or stick it out. He loves her but is terrified of the future--should his listen to his fear or to his heart.?

That's the that question that "Confused in Colorado" posed to Cary Tennis, the advice columnist at Salon.com. Tennis could have lectured or pulled a guilt trip. Or she could have told the reader to grow up and be a man.

Instead, here's what she wrote:

Are you ready for this, the great, defining challenge of your life? Are
you ready to accept what life has put before you?

I hope you can answer yes. I hope you can put aside whatever cynicism
you have acquired by living in an absurd world and recognize that
however absurd this world is, it places before us occasional
opportunities to respond with unambiguous moral clarity.

There are moments, if you are actually living life, when cynicism
cannot approach or tarnish the grandeur of the real thing. This is your

Are you ready?

You might not be. You might not grasp what this means. But I think you
do grasp what this means and you are ready and you want somebody to
help you do the right thing. Why else would you have written to me? If
you have been reading the column all this time then you already know
what I think. I'm not going to suggest that you ditch this woman and
look for something more convenient. I believe in heroic responses.

People often say things happen for a reason. I don't necessarily
believe that. But I believe we must live life as if things happen for a
reason. We must create meaning. Otherwise we're just sick, pathetic,
clueless bastards!

What I mean is, we create meaning in our lives by responding with our
highest selves. We try to do the right thing. To the degree we fail, we
fail. But we don't just walk away from a drowning lover.

I don't what Tennis's faith background is, but she should have been a preacher. She reminded "Confused in Colorado" that love makes all things possible. She inspired him to have faith and leave the security of the boat and to try and walk on water. My guess is that Clueless in Colorado is going to follow her advice and embrace "the grandeur of the real thing."

The Christian world needs writers like this, to help us dream and dare, to hope and love. God help us, because I'm afraid too many of us would rather be Ann Coulter.


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