Out on a limb…

And all I have to say is…

This last week was sort of gut wrenching. It wasn’t just one call, one email, one Facebook post. It was many. Cancer and depression and heart problems…hard pregnancies, hard marriages, hot fires.

Where are you wife? Chris questioned the vacant expression that accompanied me most of Saturday. I wasn’t with it. I was out of it. But when you see other people in pain, it is sort of hard to figure out how to be in it.

What am I doing here!? Why am I doing what I am doing?! Sometimes the unexplainable makes me try to explain myself. Sometimes the unfair trials in other people’s lives make me  question the unfair blessings in mine.

We do a lot of adventure talk on this blog. Google [that all powerful source of need-to-know-info] defines adventure as:

An unusual and exciting, typically hazardous, experience or activity.

Other’s have defined it as outdoor activities that involve risk. What do I define it as? Offhandedly: pursuits that leave you breathless but soul fed. [And we all know, being a parent, that a simple trip to the zoo can become an epic adventure.] But does it have to be outdoors? Does it have to be by choice? No and no. And often you do exit these adventures breathless…but you’d never call it “soul fed.”

Can life be an adventure [albeit a sucky one] if your going through a divorce? What about if you have a kid going through chemo and a hike is not on your list of to-dos for the weekend? Can you still lead a full life? OF COURSE I SAY!

But it seems plainly insulting to refer to the deep, rendering, gut wrenching experiences of many as simply “an adventure.” When so many of us also refer to our afternoons swimming, a hike, a climbing trip, or a night in a tent as the same thing. Somehow it misses the heart ache. It lightens the otherwise dark, tragic and dreary reality of our broken world. But perhaps the unknown sickness, brokenness is more of a real adventure than anything we [meaning us] can contrive of every weekend.

 it may also be a bold, usually risky undertaking, with an uncertain outcome.

Do all these extracurricular pursuits we promote really make your life fuller? Yes. [I answer this one from personal experience.] But are they necessary for a full and meaningful life? No. Sometimes other things take precedent. Sometimes life takes you into Children’s Hospital. You’ve been knocked off balance. You are merely stumbling along, trying to keep going. And in my heart I am stumbling along with you, squeezing my kids tight, praying for yours, hurting and begging and… Then, I ask myself, do I drop all I know and enjoy to find the one thing that is absolutely necessary to keep us all going?

 to dare to go; to dare to say

What if that absolutely necessary thing is woven like a thread through the fabric of history. Through each tree that smells of butterscotch and pine. Through each bird that sings atop the tree I moved 10 feet above on the second pitch of our climb. What if that absolutely necessary thing for leading a full life was in the mountains, the snow, that soft whoomp that settles up your legs as they carve into the next powder filled turn. What if that same thing was also in the hospital room with you? And kept you from being lonely? What if it wasn’t climbing, biking, hiking, camping, skiing, mountains, sunsets, sunflowers, or raging rivers that filled our soul – but merely what and who they reflect? What if recognizing that thing started with gratitude for all the blessings you don’t deserve?

What if that necessary thing was a person? What if it is Jesus?

Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.

wasatch climbing

If you’d like to join us in praying for a dear family we know, their daughter was just diagnosed with cancer. Here is a link to their blog and story: Victorious is her Name and an update: Rerouted.

3 comments on “Out on a limb…
  1. Alyssa,
    Yet another great post. This made me stop and think about “adventures”. Not the kind that involves fast pace, thrill seeking, outdoors but the kind of adventures that are soft, slow, and meaningful. It made me think of the “adventures” of playing a game with my son while my daughter is sleeping or the “adventures” of reading a story to my daughter as she asks a millions questions about it and then says “lets talk about our day”. Those too are great adventures. And yes, even heart wrenching circumstances are their own kind of adventure. It was we do with it and how it makes us grow. I wish the best of luck to your friends and will send many prayers their way.

  2. Wow, this post made me cry a little this morning. I will absolutely add your friends and especially their daughter to my prayers. I think sometimes we go out in the world looking for God, and sometimes he grabs us by the face and forces us to kneel before him.
    “Life is an opportunity, benefit from it.
    Life is beauty, admire it.
    Life is a dream, realize it.
    Life is a challenge, meet it.
    Life is a duty, complete it.
    Life is a game, play it.
    Life is a promise, fulfill it.
    Life is sorrow, overcome it.
    Life is a song, sing it.
    Life is a struggle, accept it.
    Life is a tragedy, confront it.
    Life is an adventure, dare it.
    Life is luck, make it.
    Life is too precious, do not destroy it.
    Life is life, fight for it.”
    ― Mother Teresa

  3. Pingback: How Do You Define Adventurous Parenting? | The Adventures in Parenthood Project

Leave a Reply