“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.” ― Helen Keller, The Open Door
When God handed out the trait for being adventurous, I must have been absent. Adventurous is not a word I would use to describe myself at all. As a child, I was anything but. I was shy and I certainly was not a risk taker.
That quiet student in the school classroom who never raised her hand to answer teachers’ questions but would shyly respond with the correct answer if called upon? That was me. Why didn’t I raise my hand? Because I might be wrong and I just didn’t want to take that chance.
So adventurous? Me? Hah. But my kids, now they are the thrill-seekers. And they have passport stamps to prove it. They’ve traveled to foreign countries from Mexico to Honduras, from Belize to France, from England to Mozambique, from Costa Rica to South Africa.
Me? The only foreign country I’ve visited isn’t that foreign – it’s our neighbor to the north, Canada. Oh, I’ve traveled. At last count, I’ve been in 32 of our 50 states here in the US and I suppose that counts as an adventure.
But exciting escapades…it seems I enjoy them vicariously through my adult children on their jaunts from safaris to sky diving to climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro. From para-sailing to participating in a triathlon to rappelling down waterfalls. From cruising on the ocean to cruising along the skyline via helicopter.
Yes, it’s safe to say my kids are adventurers. They relish crossing items off their adventure bucket lists and are ever eager to step out of their comfort zones enjoying the journeys along the way. And I like to think that I, the one who was raised on the motto ‘better safe than sorry,’ helped encourage them to do so.
In comparison, my life probably doesn’t appear to be very exciting, but when I stop to really consider it, I have had a few adventures of my own. I’ve watched the sun rise over the Atlantic Ocean and I’ve observed it setting over the Pacific.
I’ve viewed the majesty of the Rocky Mountains and the lemon yellow color of aspen trees in the fall as well as the seemingly unending horizon of the Plains and the golden waves of grain growing there. I’ve visited a volcano (Mount St. Helens), one of the deepest, clearest lakes in the world (Crater Lake), and witnessed the power of a mighty waterfall (Niagara Falls).
From fields of bright-colored tulips in the spring to fields of happy sunflowers in summer to hillsides of trees adorned in fall’s brightly colored leaves to mounds of sparkling snow covered landscapes in winter, I’ve witnessed the beauty of nature.
I’ve strolled along sunshine-laden sandy strips of beach on one side of my country and hiked through moss-covered giant redwood trees deep in the forest a couple of thousand miles away on the other side.
I’ve also walked on the streets of some of the most well-known cities in our nation from New York City to Dallas to San Francisco to Washington, DC just to name a few. I’ve traveled by plane, train, boat, ferry, subway, cable car, and even by incline while many people have never traveled in anything other than a car or have ever been outside their home towns.
But there’s more to an adventurous life than just travel and sightseeing. So often God has led me out of my shy shell in daring ways. He’s placed me in locations and situations out of my comfort zone. No doubt He wanted to teach me a lesson about relying on Him, trusting Him, putting my faith in Him.
All the locales I’ve visited, the places I’ve lived, the people I’ve met, and situations that became a part of my life have truly been adventures and they molded me into the person I am now. And I believe God is responsible for all of those times in order to give my faith room to grow.
He gave me blessed opportunities to witness the birth of another human being three times when I had my own children and He placed me in the life of a friend to listen and weep with her when her heart was broken by abortion.
He provided occasions to reach out and touch others’ lives in ways I never thought I could do through my words, both spoken and written, and through encounters with strangers and people who soon became friends in places where I knew absolutely no one other than my immediate family.
As I sit here safely ensconced in my comfortable home writing this post, doing so doesn’t sound very daring or exciting at all – not much of an adventure perhaps. But it occurs to me that I truly have traveled an adventurous route and even writing this blog has proved to be a bold move on my part. And better yet, there are new journeys that still await. My bucket list just may be different from my kids and different from yours.
I believe God offers me opportunities every day to boldly go where I haven’t gone before. All I have to do is listen to His voice, take His hand, and let Him lead me. It’s my choice to take the dare or not.
I may seem as meek and mild as a sheep, but I know who my Master is. I know my Shepherd and I listen for His voice. Wherever He leads me, I want to follow because I know it will be an adventure.
This scripture reminds me: “The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice.” ~ John 10:2-4 (NIV)
Helen Keller was right – life IS either an adventure or nothing at all. At the end of my life when I stand before God, I want to be able to say I chose the adventure of living a life for Christ because to chose otherwise means nothing.
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