Ron Rolheiser’s column on “Dare to Be One in a Thousand” was inspiring, especially as I think of my own marriage. I pray that Chris and I can live a marriage that is “one in a thousand”, and I pray that my children one day, if this is their calling, experience a marriage that is “one in a thousand”.
Recently, I was giving a talk to a group of young adults preparing for marriage and was trying to challenge them with the Christian teaching on love and sexuality. They were objecting constantly. When I’d finished speaking, a young man stood up and said: “Father, I agree with your principles, in the ideal. But you are totally unrealistic. Do you know what is going on out here? Nobody is living that stuff anymore. You’d have to be one person in a thousand to live what you’re suggesting. Everyone is living differently now.” I looked at him, sitting beside a young woman whom he obviously loved deeply and hoped to marry, and decided to appeal to his idealism. I asked him: “When you marry that lady beside you, what kind of marriage do you want, one like everyone else’s, or one in a thousand?” “One in a thousand,” he answered without hesitation. “Then,” I suggested, “you’d best do what only one in a thousand does. If you do what everyone else does, you will have a marriage like everyone else. If you do what only one in a thousand does, you can have a one-in-a-thousand marriage.”
“Occasionally, this critique takes a more cynical bent: “Idealism is naive, for kids. The mature, the realistic, do not live with their heads in the clouds. Hence, adjust, update, recognize what is there and accept it; live like everyone else is living.” What an incredible and tragic loss of idealism! Such a philosophy voices despair because the deepest demand of love, Christianity, and of life itself is precisely the challenge to specialness, to what is most ideal. Love, Christianity and life demand that we take the road less taken, that we be in restless cogitation for a higher eros, that we be one in a thousand.”
Ah love Rolheiser! This is such an encouragement. Thanks for sharing!