"Do now, do now, what you will wish to have done when your moment comes to die." [St. Angela Merici]

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Adventure—For a Real Life

By Micky Wolf

As with all great adventure, first a bit of the story.

During one of the hottest weeks of the summer, my husband and I decided to embark on a day trip to an unexplored part of our corner of the world. Grateful for air conditioning, it was late afternoon when we found ourselves winding up, down, around and over some mountain foothills about three hours from home. Getting back on a major highway was the immediate goal. What lay before us didn’t quite seem to fit the bill, although we felt we were headed in the right direction. Not quite.

“Turn here and follow that road,” my husband said, pointing in the direction of a gravel surface that appeared to be little more than an uptown version of crushed limestone.

“That’s a road? Are you sure?” 

“Yep, that’s what Goldie says.” Although my beloved was still learning how to use our aptly nicknamed [another story] handheld global positioning device, the clear, soft voice of the little apparatus had so far proved quite reliable, right down to the most recent four-way stop sign a few miles back up the road.

I was relaxed, yet needed to maintain a firm grip on the wheel, keeping my attention on the narrow lane in front of us while hugging the wall of rocks and undergrowth on my right. “Okay, here we go. Ah, there’s a huge drop-off to my left. A bunch of trees—and it is way, way down to the river at the bottom. Say, what happens if we meet someone coming up this thing?”

“You’ll be fine,” he replied. “If anything, this vehicle is built for this kind of travel.”

“So, who are you trying to convince?”

He smiled, occasionally glancing down at Goldie, for the moment, eerily quiet. 

“Lotsa ruts. Must have washed out on more than one occasion,” I said, carefully straddling some of the deepest gouges in the uneven surface. 

Down. Down. Down. At least the river bed that appeared to be little more than a thin, meandering stream at the top of the mountain was now clearly visible alongside our bumpy path, although at the moment I wasn’t fully convinced that was a good thing. And then, simultaneously, we saw it. Smack in front us, about a hundred feet, the river—minus the road. 

“Whoa. I am not going any further.” 

“Looks to me like it’s just a puddle.” 

“A puddle my gear shifter—that’s a pond!” Sure glad I had hit the restroom before we left our last tourist attraction. “Go check it out if you want, but far as I’m concerned, we need to turn around and head back the way we came.” Thank heavens for four-wheel drive.

“Well, okay, but might as well take some photos while I’m at it. Seems like a memory in the making to share with future grand kids.” 

I watched as he walked carefully to the edge of the pond, reach down, pick up a large rock and toss it into the middle of the muddy water. Looking back at me, he motioned as if to give it a go.

“No way, no how—ain’t gonna happen!” I hollered out my window.

After snapping a few more pictures, he returned, sweat glistening on his forehead. “I think we could make it.” 

“Dear sweet husband, reason must prevail here. We do not know how deep that pond—“


“Pond is—and we don’t know what might be hiding beneath the murky surface. Would we really want to wait for a vehicle rescue out here in the middle of God’s nowhere country in hundred plus degree heat if something gets caught on the underside trying to get through that?”

“Hmm, you do have a point. Yeah, we need return to the main road.”

I nodded, already inching forward, backing up, and repeating the process several times in order to get us turned around.  A few minutes later and with more than a few heavenly pleas we not encounter anyone coming in the opposite direction, we emerged from the thick trees and gravel, unscathed, albeit more than ready for black-top and white edge lines.

Reflecting on our travel experience later, it occurred to me a healthy, evolving, spiritual journey is, in many ways, the ultimate life adventure.

An undertaking usually involving danger and unknown risks;
the encountering of risks…an exciting or remarkable experience
[Merriam-Webster Dictionary]

1.  Traveling, trusting, and the unexpected…

Sometimes a choice may appear to be the wrong one, yet there are great things to see and learn along the way. Taking the limestone road was not a mistake as we had the opportunity to see some of God’s amazing creation. At the same time, wisdom and reason were necessary when faced with the washed out road. 

What great adventures are you missing by giving into fear of the unknown? 

Do you perceive ‘real adventure’ as something for only a select few? The physically,  intellectually, financially, or emotionally mature or gifted? 

2. Being prepared and being spontaneous are not mutually exclusive…

Not micro-planning our day was a big part of the fun and excitement. Simply setting out to be together and discovering something new and interesting was the goal. We had a general idea where we were headed. We also had a cooler aboard with plenty of water, some fruit and snacks, and an extra pair of shoes. 

Do you make sure your day is laid out by the minute? By the hour? Why?

How do you feel about blank spaces on your calendar?

3.  When things do not go as planned…

By the time we started down the limestone path we were tired, with a long drive home. What turned out to be an additional forty-five minute detour could have been a great excuse to get angry with one another. Even the most up-to-date technology has limited capability to be all seeing, and all knowing. Placing the fullness of our trust in things or people rather than in God sets us up for disappointment, usually sooner rather than later. 

How do you feel when your plans do not unfold as you had hoped? 

How do your act, or react, to change? 

We could believe that in today’s world, living a Christ-like life as a great adventure is more risky and dangerous than ever before. Or, we could wake up tomorrow morning and choose to follow the path before us, opening our hearts and desires to God’s plans to experience something real, exciting and remarkable. Whether puddles—or ponds—we can trust He knows what is best, even when we think we have made a mistake.


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