Perhaps every human on earth falls into one of two camps. One camp is made up of those who seek purpose and adventure on a daily basis. The other camp is comprised of those who don’t want to be bothered with such drivel. Members of the first camp are tiptoeing on the edge of their comfort zone, open to risk and uncertainty. The other camp wants yellow protective tape and caution signs all over the place.
My heart tends to gravitate toward those who are always taking uncharted steps, purely for the joy of the adventure: a young mother taking her child on a wagon ride as a rainstorm is whipping up, a retired gentleman who volunteers nights at the youth center, an artist who travels to art fairs to share her creative treasures with regular folks.
It must be fear that keeps the “safe and secure” souls from wanting to do something personally spectacular. They explain to me why what the other guy wants to do isn’t worth all the bother or is too risky. I hear bugbears like, “His insurance will run out” or “It’s too windy outside to go on a picnic.” I translate their concerns as “I’d rather not get bruised while I go through each and every day of my predictable life.”
I met a neat guy earlier this week. He had stopped to retie one of his kid’s tennis shoes on the park bench I was sitting on. At the same moment, his younger child tripped and skinned her knee. He soothed her as she cried by pointing out how the little trickle of blood was a gorgeous shade of red. I asked the boy with the newly tied shoes what his dad did for a living.
The boy explained (in arm-waving fashion) how his dad made huge puzzles out of wood and people from all around the world bought them to hang from their ceilings. I wanted to buy one on the spot. The dad and I talked for a while and I learned that he did indeed make huge, interlocking puzzle pieces that hung in the lobbies of corporations and public buildings. The dad said he stayed close to broke for almost 10 years before his work caught on. And yes, it was now worldwide.
It got me thinking about stumbles and falls, about how it can take years of bumps and bruises before things fit together. Maybe we all waver between playing it safe and risking it all. On my good days, I feel as if I am still boldly questing for my unique purpose. On more tedious days, I merely wish to make it through until 10 p.m.
But, if I had my druthers, I would choose those moments and days where I have no idea where I’ll land.