Once upon a time, a young girl twirled among the tall, swaying grass with reckless abandon. Her eyes were full of wonder and she could taste her future on the wind…

I have always fostered a love for words. I enjoy the feel of a new word on my tongue and love imagining the many scenarios for its use. In college, my roommates and I had a word wall. When we came across a word we found interesting, even if it seemed mundane, we recorded the word along with our favorite meaning on a colorful card and added the word to the patchwork collage we had created on a wall of our apartment. Now, instead of a physical word wall, I carry the words in my head, and at times I find that certain words have a tendency to cling to the recesses of my mind and resurface again and again.

Lately, I have been meditating on words that seem to have a negative connotation, but if examined a bit closer sometimes slant towards the positive. Reckless is one of these words and a word that I have begun to embrace and wish for my life.

In its negative context, reckless can mean careless, hasty, uncontrolled, wild. But reckless can also mean freedom, unrestraint. A young girl twirling with reckless abandon is looked on by an older woman with pining eyes. The woman is longing for a time when it was worth it to be a bit rash, to not consider the cost or consequences. To live a life so sure that what you are seeking is worth the sacrifice. This kind of life is heralded as bold, uninhibited, visionary or rash, impulsive, foolish. Reckless. 

This word is also a bit of a dichotomy. What may seem reckless to one is perhaps not to the individual performing the actions. To give up everything for the sake of another, to sell all your belongings for the benefit of others, entering into the wild and unknown to bring hope the lost; these are all reckless behaviors – unless you know your future is secure and the big picture has already been painted. Then these acts are selfless acts of obedience and true demonstrations of faith.

Those that have lived with this kind of abandon have painted the pages of history with their outlandish stories.

The word has prompted many a discussion within the Christian community. A popular song has classified the love of God as “reckless love.”  And while many herald this incorrect labeling, I hesitate. Is Christ’s love for us reckless? Instinct immediately shouts no! Christ’s love is not hasty or careless. But, at the same time, yes. He does recklessly chase after us. Those who are seemingly lost forever are not lost to Him, and He will pursue them to the end no matter the cost. That is reckless behavior. But is it irresponsible behavior?

What is something that you are willing to chase after with reckless abandon?

If you know that in the end, your future is secure, do your actions begin to elicit another namesake? Perhaps instead of the word reckless, our actions should evoke another designation. Radical.

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