The sense of being part of some bigger story, a purposeful adventure that is the Christian life, begins to drain away again after those first-love years in spite of everything we can do to stop it. Instead of a love affair with God, your life begins to feel more like a series of repetitive behaviors, like reading the same chapter of a book or writing the same novel over and over. The orthodoxy we try to live out, defined as “Believe and Behave Accordingly,” is not a sufficient story line to satisfy whatever turmoil and longing our heart is trying to tell us about. Somehow our head and heart are on separate journeys and neither feels like life.
Eventually this division of head and heart culminates in one of two directions. We can either deaden our heart or divide our life into two parts, where our outer story becomes the theater of the should and our inner story the theater of needs, the place where we quench the thirst of our heart with whatever water is available. I chose the second route, living what I thought of as my religious life with increasing dryness and cynicism while I found “water” where I could: in sexual fantasies, alcohol, the next dinner out, late-night violence videos, gaining more knowledge through religious seminars—whatever would slake the thirsty restlessness inside. Whichever path we choose—heart deadness or heart and head separation—the wounds, the Arrows win, and we lose heart.
This is the story of all our lives, in one way or another. The haunting of the Romance and the Message of the Arrows are so radically different and they seem so mutually exclusive they split our hearts in two. In every way that the Romance is full of beauty and wonder, the Arrows are equally powerful in their ugliness and devastation.
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