Commit

Funny how you don’t notice something until it’s gone. I drive past the same houses every day, on my way home from a hike in the woods. Just around a blind corner at the top of the street, a big grey 4×4 pickup truck is always parked in the same spot. With its suspension jacked up for maximum ground clearance, the differential is revealed, and across the tailgate the word *COMMIT* is stenciled in Old West typeface. It speaks to me of the owner’s perseverance, his personalized statement.

In contemporary lingo, to commit means to fully engage in what you are doing, without wavering, without doubt, to accomplish what you set out to do; to not look back, not give up. I associate the term with rock-climbing, dirt-biking, skateboarding, or any extreme sport which requires a lot of chutzpah. I imagine the truck owner blasting along some back road with a buddy in the passenger seat, two bikes, a hound dog and a cooler of beer in the box. He would be a guy in his 20s, perhaps still living at home but drawing a salary big enough to afford the payments. Probably he’s a construction worker.

Today when I drove past, the truck was not there. Nor was it there last week, or the week before. Finally I noticed it was gone. Gone was the marquee I had grown used to seeing, anticipating its loud exhortation as I rounded the corner. Somehow this daily encounter had seeped into my consciousness, and now it had vanished. Perhaps the owner had finally moved out, found an apartment, or relocated out of town. Maybe it was due to a relationship breakup. Or the monthly payments were a drag, and he wasn’t getting out on the weekends much anymore, and decided to trade it in on a car. What struck me was how much I missed the message. It was like a pep talk, a thread of communication shared enthusiastically with the world.

How many of us commit ourselves daily, truly commit to our passion? So much time is taken up with routines and responsibilities, plans and preparations, fulfilling expectations and accomplishing goals. This is the world of the grown-up. What I remember from childhood is living in the moment, zeroing in on some activity so intensely that it was a shock to hear Mom calling me in for supper. Playing so hard that I sank into bed and fell asleep when I hit the pillow.

We think of commitments as agreements between ourselves and the social world, between ourselves and our loved ones. What else can we commit to? Could it be watching the flight of a dragonfly, really watching, eyes fixed on its iridescent form zooming back and forth across the pond? When we let go of measuring and assessing and give ourselves over to just being, then we commit to life, to passion, to joy. Though the truck is gone, the word remains in my head when I come around that blind corner.

 

Commit © 2011 Sheila Cano. Read more of Sheila at ReadThisPlease.com and check back in the Now to read her future contributions.

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