Tuesday, August 17, 2010

what's in an adventure?

A trip by any other name might sound as sweet....but won't be.

I was thinking about adventures this morning as I sat with God at my college roommates' kitchen table. (I can say things like this now, because we have graduated from college, and they're no longer my roommates. Don't I sound adult?) I had just eaten a peanut butter granola bar for breakfast (thanks, former college roomies) and was waiting for God to say something. He sat there, verbally silent, but looking at me with that look on His face like, "You already know what I'm going to say, so I'm just going to raise one eyebrow at you and wait until you sigh resignedly and write it in your journal." You can tell God and I have this "conversation" a lot.

I've been on a few adventures. Enough, anyway, that I've begun to realize what classifies an experience as an adventure. Is it the circumstances? The destination? The people?

I think the only thing that determines what is an adventure and what isn't, is the attitude of the adventurer. Some qualities of an adventurous attitude:

willingness
flexibility
determination
whatever characteristic ducks have when water rolls of their backs
laid-backedness
joy
optimism
chocolate covered raisins

An experience without those things is just something to trudge through, withstand, or tolerate. Experiences with those things are pots of gold at the end of the rainbow. You come out of adventures with nuggets - and scars - that you'll take with you for the rest of your life, changing you and shaping you.

I can't say, like Johnny Cash, that I've been everywhere, man. But where I go doesn't determine my adventure. My cousin Christine, married and with two kids, told me yesterday that she envied my situation. I can go wherever and do whatever, for however long, with whomever. It makes me want to pack all my stuff and move to Wyoming or Maine or Canada, since they have free health care.

But this is where God's knowing expression comes in. And I sigh and write in my journal, because I realize why I'm depressed as I think about the un-stability of my life instead of being excited about its adventure. I answer people's questions with, "I have no idea what I'm doing with my life." And therein lies the splinter in my finger, the gaping gorge I'm balancing precariously on the side of and ready to plunge into at the slightest tremor:

It isn't my life.

I realized that for the past 6 months I've been trying to find a vocation that I'd enjoy but would still be serving God. I'm good at that, AND God's involved! I can go there, AND be with my friends AND serve God! But I have it backwards. If my hands are too full of my life, I can't hold onto His robe. If my ears are too full of my own plans, I can't hear His voice calling to me. I need to surrender my plans, my desires, my will, and then the REAL adventure can begin.

He called Andrew to leave his nets.

He called Peter to walk on water.

Talk about adventure!

Bilbo said it best when he said in The Hobbit that adventures are not all pony-rides in May sunshine. And, as my 12-year-old camper from Africa sang in the sweetest voice I've ever heard, it's not going to be easy to leave. But I feel like Moses in Exodus 33, when he tells the Lord, "If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us from here." I'm banking on the Lord's answer here being His same promise to me:

"My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest."

2 comments:

LEIZA said...

thanks for sharing this hee-der!! it couldn't come at a more perfect time.

martindell said...

Basic healthcare is not a luxury.

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