by Rev. Robert H. Tucker
May 19, 1997
Give Us the Courage
"How about her?" "No, she's going steady."
"And her?" "OK, we'll fix it up." I had once
again engaged in my high school dating ritual.
For over four years my choice of dates was determined by the
yearbook of St. Joseph girl's high school. My best friend and
his girl friend, both Roman Catholics and parochial school attendees,
used this means to make our weekends a foursome. It was convenient,
it was easy it was wonderful.
It was also debilitating, in that a couple of years after
high school, having decided to go into the ministry, I became
aware that only dating Roman Catholics was not a practical thing
to do. (Today, that would not be as critical an issue.) Thus,
I decided to break the years-long pattern. It was a terribly tough
Where are dateable girls to be found? How does one talk to
a girl to which one has not been introduced? How does one ask
for a date? Whatever knowledge and skill I may once have had atrophied
over the years, and months of dateless weekends began to accumulate.
Overcoming the temptation to revert to the past pattern took great
personal effort because, in addition to the absence of dates,
my nondating regular friendships began to shift as well.
I discovered the real cost of personal change.
I think of that experience when I hear someone offhandedly
state that others should "get their lives together,"
by getting off welfare, or stopping drinking or taking drugs,
or making other major life changes. It is so easy to advise others,
not aware that it may mean a complete change of habits, friendships,
and often many, many lonely hours, nights and weekends.
From a relatively mild personal experience, I have learned
to have great admiration for all those who struggle to make changes
in their lives, and I have great compassion for those who find
the struggle beyond their strength.
The famous Serenity Prayer of Reinhold Niebuhr has a line
which states "God grant us the courage to change the things
which should be changed." Courage, indeed.
--Robert H. Tucker
19 May 1997
- © Robert H. Tucker, 1997.
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