Saturday, November 10, 2012

Living As Having Nothing To Lose

Solzhenitsyn writes in The Gulag Archipelago, “From the moment you go to prison you must put your cozy past firmly behind you…..For me those I love have died, and for them I have died. From today on by body is useless and alien to me. Only my spirit and my conscience remain precious and important to me.” There is surprising freedom in having nothing to lose.

I wonder if that’s why some of my elderly customers act the way they do. If I were driving an electric cart and ran into a door or knocked down a wine display I’d be mortified. My older customers aren’t fazed by it. In a more real sense looking death squarely in the eye makes one bolder and free. On KFI radio Tim Conway and Steckler have a shtick where they yell, “We are the middle class and we have nothing to lose.” Having nothing to lose makes you all the more bold in the conviction you have.

Paul knew this as well. In writing to the Romans he continuously encouraged them to ‘Reckon yourselves dead to sin.” The dead man has nothing to lose. In our authenticity and our convictions we should live like that. Not looking to please others, not self-protecting, but promoting ideals that are lofty and true. That is how we must live if our lives are to count to the utmost; having only our spirit and our conscience as most precious and important.

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