“I don’t want to tiptoe through life just to arrive at death safely.”
Being Willing to be Willing to be Willing
to be Willing….
The first time I consciously took a risk for Change, I sat in my first 12 step group meetings as a teenager. Of all things, part of the purpose was to be straight and sober. Sober? Alcohol was my solution, not the problem.
Questions came at me about willingness. Those questions changed my life.
A 16 year old girl, with a halo of curly long dark hair kept ducking her head to look me in the eyes. “Are you willing to lead a different way of life?” (Why was I hesitating? My way was self-destructive at the time, but it was all that I had.)
“No,” I growled.
“Are you willing to be willing?”
These people are weird. “No.”
“Well, are you willing to be willing to be willing?”
“Um, no.” Rolling my eyes, but still listening.
“Okay, are you willing to be willing, to be willing to be willing?”
I think I’m getting this. “Yes,” I said.
Saying, “I am willing to be willing, to be willing, to be…(ad infinitum)” created a conviction. The extra wilings suggested that a part of me was a risk taker, that a part of me wanted to change, that I wouldn’t have to change all alone, that all those willings would have support.
Up until then, I had been alone. I never latched on to the friendship skill again after entering my 4th elementary school, and third country, at the age of 6. Some children of World War II survivors move a lot, and find that their families struggle with how to cope with intense emotions. The intensity of the war years, of hovering between life and death was just too much – in their past.
I was 15 years old at these first 12 step program meetings, and had not yet found a way to do these how-to’s: express feelings, build loving friendships, be real with my family. That 12 step program started to teach me how. It all started with willingness – being willing to be wiling to be willing.
Int he midst of my new friend’s questions, I could imagine the wilings going on forever, if they had to. From that tiny start, I went on to live a happier life.
My back was against the wall then, and still the risk-taking of change worked out. The willings go on today. Now I’m talking to friends who are willing-to-be-willing, and most often I sense God asking me, “Are you willing to be willing to be willing?”
What are you willing to be willing to be willing to do today? Tell me.
What you have to do and the way you have to do it is incredibly simple. Whether you are willing to do it is another matter.
When written in Chinese the word crisis is composed to two characters. One represents danger, and the other represents opportunity.