Friday, July 31, 2009

The Strength of Commitment

Commitment is foundational to any REALationship. It is through our commitment to them that others know they will never have to face the storms of life alone. It is not necessarily a great number of people that are around someone that enables them to weather the storm, but it is the strength of the commitment that is made to them, even if this exists only in one or two friends.

To see this proven, take something as simple as a rope or string as an example. If you have a single stranded cord, then there is not much strength in that, because you have similar fibers that are oriented in the same direction. When you have a double stranded cord, then you are sharing that load stress across the fibers of two assemblies that perhaps are oriented in the same direction, yet are not oriented together until they are bound together. A three stranded cord is stronger still, and almost impossible to break.

Try a simple experiment. Take ordinary sewing thread and tie it off to something, then try to break it. A single strand can be snapped with little effort. Then tie off two strands and twist them together, using a pencil or some other anchor point. Now try to break it. It is more difficult, isn't it? Now tie off three strands and twist. Pull on that and let me know how you do.

Here is something else that is universally true. The tighter the twist, the stronger the cord. When two or three strands of thread are loosely twisted it does make a good cord, yet if you take the time to twist the strands tighter you get a much stronger cord.

It is also like this in our commitments within REALationships. When we take the time to invest in others, carefully and methodically entwining our lives with theirs, then we have become for them that two or three stranded cord that is twisted tightly. The great thing about this cord is that it becomes apparent that the likelihood of their also being a two or three stranded cord for us increases greatly. It may not be universally true, but the chances of them standing with us through our storms once we have committed to them in this way increase significantly.

If you knew a hurricane was coming, would you rather tie up your boat to the dock with a bunch of single stranded 1/4" drapery cord, or with two or three ropes made from drapery cord twisted tightly together?

To withstand the storms, whether big or small, I'll take my chances with the two or three ropes. There's more substance to them; more ability to take the stresses that come from being tossed around in the surf and wind.

That's the ticket. That's the foundation of commitment. To be so entwined with someone's life that you appear as one single rope.

This two or three stranded cord is what I want to be for those I commit to.

What about you? Who are you entwined with? Who can you begin entwining your life with?

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