Catching Grenades

Hi. My name is Gil … and I am apparently very late to this party.

Call me clueless, call me out of touch, call me addicted to the 80’s on 8 channel on my Sirius satellite radio; but I had never, until this evening, heard the Bruno Mars song ‘Grenade’.

I stumbled across it as a result of following Chris Rock’s twitter feed. The famed comedian had a post about the song. I thought the tweet was in reference to Mars’ song “Just The Way You Are”. My wife, who is light-years more in touch with what’s cool and popular than I am, promptly corrected me. This, by the way, is a common occurrence in our household.

I gave the song a listen and studied the lyrics. It’s pleasant musically and a very interesting read lyrically. To me, the song speaks to a severely imbalanced relationship in which one person clearly places the other on a pedestal without any sense of reciprocation of passion and feeling. Hmmm. Where was this song for me in late 2005?

This got me to thinking about my relationship with my wife, and what is the litmus test of true love. Would I catch a grenade for her? The deviation from the more appropriate phrasing notwithstanding (it should be “I’d jump on a grenade for you” since merely catching a grenade would still send shards of shrapnel flying everywhere, but I digress), yes. Without hesitation and without equivocation. In a moment of split-second decision making, I would absolutely give my life for that of my spouse. The same holds true for my kids.

Throw my hand on a blade? Check.

Jump in front of a train? Yep.

Go through all of the pain? For sure.

Take a bullet straight through my brain? Bring it on.

It’s called devotion. Like a seed, it is a feeling that lives inside all of us. However, it is activated only after a unique set of circumstances, experiences, and beliefs have come together and given that kernel of emotion a reason to grow. Devotion allows us to easily sacrifice what others will not for the benefit of someone else or the greater good.

We see it in missionaries who forego leisure and luxury to reach out to others. We see it in scientists who spend eighteen hours a day in labs researching possible cures for the diseases that kill us. We see it in the eyes of the women and men who put on a uniform and defend our great nation.

One thing I didn’t mention about the Bruno Mars song is that it’s also a study in hyperbole. It’s a boy’s overly exaggerated cry out to the object of his affection, a cry that is amplified because she does not feel the same for him. It’s cute, catchy, and clever, but it is not a song about devotion.

True devotion is selfless. There is no, “I agree to do this if…..”. Devotion, in its purest form, is saintly and does not bring with it conditions.

I’ve mentioned before how my life is full to the brim with blessings. I have two awesome and healthy kids, I have a beautiful wife that continues to amaze me on a daily basis, a wonderful home to share with them, and a laundry list of other things for which I am eternally grateful to God.

One thing I’d never thought of, however, was the gift of devotion. God has given me a wonderful life, but more spectacular than that, He’s given me a family I’d willingly die for. You can’t ask for anything more than that.

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