Courting Life


I arrived early at a recent networking event and so headed straight to get a drink. One bar was serving just wine sponsored by Le Grand Courtage. I’m not a wine connoisseur so all I can say is that I enjoyed my “Blanc de Blanc.” However, what got my attention was the company’s motto: “Embrace Life. Dream Big. Accept All Invitations.” Their goal is to provide wine that is perfect for “courting life.”

I’m charmed by the company’s romanticism, but even more, I’m challenged by their commitment to “court life.” I’ve been reflecting on what a person needs in order to “court life” because sometimes the demands of life are so harsh and mercurial that the notion of “courting life” seems a down right radical act of bravery.

Embrace life.

The phrase is a cliché, but — I think you can only embrace life if you refuse to see life as the enemy. Perhaps that strikes you as an odd notion, but I once had a client whose mantra was, “Life’s a b*tch and then you die.” In some perverted way, life for him was a form of punishment.

The opposite of love is actually not hate; it’s indifference. The opposite of embracing life is walking away from life. For the person living in a dark place of disappointment, the mantra he or she clutches is, “Why bother?”

I think embracing life requires that we wrestle with the question, “If I can’t have everything I want, then what does any of it matter?”

Embracing life means “bothering.” It means wanting and coming to terms with the reality that not everything can be ours.

But here’s the thing — maybe what you want isn’t worth having. Maybe what you want isn’t really what you want. Maybe what you want now will come to you, but only later. And maybe what you want is wonderful and you should have it, but it will be the one thing you’ll never have, for a host of reasons.

Sad for you, though, if you don’t see what else is being offered to you because there is always something being offered. And maybe that’s what embracing life is all about — seeing and receiving the something else that is being offered.

Dom Helder Camara, a theologian and wise man from Brazil, encouraged the discouraged with these words: “Accept surprise that upsets your plans, shatters your dreams, gives a completely different turn to your day and, who knows, to your life.”

To embrace life is to embrace surprise.

Yes, life is hard as so much conspires to pull us apart from our deepest longings. Yet, when we come to the place of our greatest fear, there we will find freedom.

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