Thursday, November 8, 2012

What an adventure!

    Never are differing personality types more conspicuous than when it comes to risk taking and adventure. It doesn’t matter which inventory you use to assess the types, the result is the same when it comes to which ones will bungee jump and which will not. I think that it’s safe to say that the average person prefers to play it safe. I have never been mistaken for that type.
    I’ll be 59 my next birthday. My Dad’s Dad died at 59! He was a farmer for whom life was about plowing, planting, harvesting, feeding the chickens and seeing after his family. A whole lot of work but not much adventure. It suited him well. While I understand the appeal of the agrarian lifestyle (and I have spent more than a few hours on a tractor), there is a sort of wanderlust in my soul that seeks satisfaction at the edge. Life is for living, not spectating. No doubt, that has contributed to my success in ministry and particularly as a church planter.
    For most, the fact that I ride a motorcycle is adventurous. When I say “ride”, I really mean RIDE. I am not one of the “I own a motorcycle” crowd whose great adventure is showing up at the local coffee shop. I don’t see much adventure in, “Latte or Frapacino?” I began riding in 1973. I have ridden all over Texas, Arkansas and Oklahoma in the southwest and from Bangor, Maine to Niagara Falls to Key West, Florida in the east. My wife, who doesn’t particularly love to ride and who is NOT a risk taker/adventurous type, has only logged about 50,000 miles with me. We do at least one trip a year of 2,000 miles in a week. My dream is to ride to Alaska, and back!
    Two years ago I experienced a different kind of adventure. I had read and watched with awe and admiration the tales of people who have hiked the Appalachian Trial, all 2250 miles of it. I decided that it was time to do more than read and watch. While I had no illusions of being able to give the six months necessary for doing the whole trail, I could, at the very least, do 50 miles of it. Having shared with my brother-in-law (age 66) and my college roommate (age 58) my dream and the invitation to join me, we planned the adventure. In September of 2010, we converged in the Great Smokies of western North Carolina. What we discovered was that we had chosen the most difficult section of the trail for our virgin hike! Sweat, mountains, gorgeous scenery, blisters and bear warnings marked our journey. What an adventure! I’m planning on another stretch next year.
    My most recent adventure has been the decision to move from terra firma to a boat. While it has been no secret, neither has it been common knowledge. In November 2011, Sarah and I bought a boat and in December moved aboard. We are now approaching a year of life afloat. For most people, that’s adventure over-the-top! There have been two things that we’ve discovered about everyone who has visited our new home: how many are subject to sea sickness and how many have harbored dreams of doing what we’re doing! Then came Sandy, the never-before-convergence of a hurricane with a “nor’easter” on the mid-Atlantic coast. I remained aboard our home from beginning to end. What an adventure!
    I now have a new appreciation for the words of Isaiah: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord, your God...” Until we put ourselves at risk, we are not living by faith and will never discover the fulfillment of these words. By-the-way, I’m looking for my next adventure.