A dangerous business

Gandalf, said, “I am looking for someone to share in an adventure I am arranging…” There is something thrilling about letting go of fear. There is freedom in looking at everything there is to lose and being willing to lose it. It’s amazing to be out there but I find it absolute agony to decide to open the door and go out there.

When it comes to risk, I think Bilbo says it best, “Also I would like to know the risks, out-of-pocket expenses, time required and remuneration. and so forth.” I want a detailed analysis of what I’m getting into and and plan for every eventuality. I am perfectly willing to go on an adventure but I don’t want complications or confrontations. And I like having a plan.

Yves Chouinard says that “the word adventure has gotten overused. For me, when everything goes wrong, that’s when the adventure begins. ” I recently watched 180 South for the third time and it messed with me.  The scenery is fantastic. It almost makes me want to get off the couch. In it Jeff Johnson retraces the journey of Chouinard and Doug Tompkins in a quest to duplicate their climb of the Corcovado volcano. Most of the movie is about his journey there in which things go wrong. Then, because he arrives late the snow is melting and more things go wrong. Instead of doing what he planned, Jeff Johnson ends up doing and learning and experiencing things that were not part of his original vision. That seems to be the way adventures work.

I am not unfamiliar with risk or with things going wrong.  In the 70’s I jumped out of a plane and sprained both my ankles. Back then there were no tandem jumps. The new skydiver simply climbed out on the wing of the plane, grabbed the struts, and jumped. I counted 1001, 1002 and pulled the cord to deploy the chute. It was amazing. Quieter than I expected. And faster. My feet hit the ground before I was ready to do  the rolling fall I’d practiced.  My ankles still give me trouble but I don’t regret jumping.

In the 80’s I had children. By definition, children mean disruption and risk. It’s guaranteed that parents are sometimes going to mess up parenting. I would do some things differently but my sons are three amazing people. Becoming a parent is a huge adventure and completely unpredictable.

In the 90’s I quit my job to do a start-up with my husband. It failed and we lost a lot of money.  In the 00’s we left a church and a circle of friends we’d been part of for nearly 30 years in order to follow the adventure God was arranging.  In the 2010 we got rid of over half our stuff, rented out our house and simplified our lives by moving into an apartment 5 minutes from work.

And now, just as I was warming up to those changes, God seems to be arranging another adventure, and I for one want to know the risks. I want to see the schedule, the budget, the agenda. Not gonna happen.

What I’ve discovered in looking is that jumping out of a plane is so much easier than jumping into life change. The simplicity of letting go of the struts and falling forces an “all in.” I love to travel, I love adventures, I even like to move, but I enter into life changes holding onto fear.  I stubbornly try to follow a safe plan instead of surrendering to the inevitable adventure that happens when that plan is disrupted, which is gonna happen.

I am not sorry for any of the risks I’ve taken. I’m sorry for the ones I was afraid to take. Even knowing that, I find myself guarded and slightly uncommitted. I hope I can let go of the struts soon.

 

 

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