Do you ever wonder why you are drawn to adventure? Even if you only like to read about adventure, discovery, exciting lives and times, have you stopped to think about why those stories are appealing? Why do we have bucket lists? Why do we purposely choose some challenges and count them worth the pain they may cause? Why do I want to sleep on the ground for five nights, hike 20 miles up and down a distance greater than four Empire State Buildings, in uncertain weather with only what I can stuff into one duffel bag, and do all this with 7 strangers who might snore even worse than I do? Why?
My thinking – it’s because we are made in the image of an adventurous God. Big plans, big ideas, a view of existence so broad and all encompassing that we can’t begin to understand it, all that starts with him. It’s mystery and we are made to be curious and to seek it out.
The Grand Canyon is a project on a scale bigger than we can imagine, yet the processes that formed it were designed and patiently overseen. Colin Fletcher in “The Man Who Walked Through Time” was trying to wrap his mind around the length of time represented by the Grand Canyon – millions of years. He had this to say, and I quite agree.
“Most of us, when we first think deeply about such time spans, tend to draw back in fear from their brink, just as we tend at first to draw back in fear from the brink of anything so immense as Grand Canyon. But it is worth remembering, I think, that some element of fear probably lies at the root of every substantial challenge. And it makes no difference at all whether the challenge is to your mind or to your body, or whether – with richer promise than either, alone – it embraces both.”The Man Who Walked Through Time, p. 4 by Colin Fletcher
That fear thing! I will admit to being drawn to things that are capable of frightening me. Isn’t that the essence of challenge? I am habitually choosing challenges, small, large, and in between, because I want to know if I can prepare well enough, mentally and physically. The prospect of seeing and experiencing wonderful things that I would otherwise miss pulls me into adventure.
My adventure is somewhat ridiculous when compared to Colin Fletcher’s goal of walking the Grand Canyon from one end of the park to the other, but another quote from him resonated strongly with me.
“I looked east and west, as far as my eyes could strain, until cliff and terrace tapered way into hazy distances. It was mysterious and terrible – and beckoning. And some time during the afternoon, as I sat on the rink of this strange new world, it came to me that if a route existed, I would walk from one end of the Canyon to the other. Once the idea had crystallized, no hideously sensible doubts reared up to plague me. And I did not need such fragile props as “reasons”. The only question I asked myself was whether the project would turn out to e physically possible. Perhaps it is in this kind of simple certainty that most of the world’s ridiculous and wonderful dreams are born.”The Man Who Walked Through Time, p. 6 by Colin Fletcher
Hmm… I know what he means by “hideously sensible doubts” and from time to time they may plague me. But sometimes, like with this Grand Canyon thing, a challenge just comes to me, from out of nowhere, and if it’s physically possible to do it, I don’t need reasons. Just sayin’…