Remember the last time you had that first-day-of-school feeling? Like when you’re kinda nervous, kinda excited, and you know you can’t chicken out because you have to get through 3rd grade so you leap?
I chase that feeling. I love it. I’ve grown so much each time I conquer it, and you most assuredly have too. We all do. The trouble is, after a while, that feeling doesn’t come around as much.
Life gets settled, routine, maybe even complacent. And it’s not bad, maybe it’s even a relief to have that security and comfort. But sometimes we become The Walking Dead, only half-alive before we get that call from our Maker calling us back to the upside down. Don’t let that happen. You have too many pearls to share to let this one pass you by. Even feeling darkness means YOU. ARE. ALIVE. Wake up, share your pearls, get going on you.
- You’re alive. Aren’t you and I so lucky that we’re here? That I got to write this and you got to read it? I want to keep that going. So many people have been swept on to the next from war, famine, tragedy, illness, or maybe that lived a good, long life, and it was simply their time. But you and I are alive now. Don’t miss it. Don’t miss your life.
- Common Sense is everything. I dropped my parents off at the airport last winter for a two week cruise. As they walked inside I rolled the window down and yelled, “Common sense will usually take good care of you! Have fun!” and they left. Ok, so have you ever seen that show Locked Up Abroad? You think it’s going to be about some innocent sweetie who can’t figure out why they’re incarcerated in some lowly prison. Until you realize they were smuggling drugs or trafficking people and then you’re like WHAT DID YOU EXPECT! There was this girl we met in Peru who broke her back because she fell off of a roof when she was drunk and dancing on it. There was the guy who had his backpack stolen at like 2am at a bar when he was drunk out of his mind and didn’t realize it til the next morning. They both had a blast at the parties! But common sense…
- If it’s rushed, it’s not right. My husband and I got quasi-kidnapped once at the Peru/Ecuador border (true story for another day). In hindsight, the people who quasi-kidnapped us (who were dressed in the formal attire of the company we were looking for) were rushing us, but we weren’t in a rush. Now anytime I feel a sudden urge to hurry up from anyone it’s a red flag to slow down and walk away.
- Humanity is good. Oh, humanity is so so so good. We’ve encountered so many generous humans with small acts of kindness, hard work, big acts of kindness. All of it. When Amy and I were in Hong Kong last fall a delivery guy set his deliveries down on a busy sidewalk to escort us to a hard-to-find address. CAN YOU BELIEVE? So touched by this little thing that was really a big thing. There are so many open arms to welcome you, so many eyes wondering about who you are as much as you wonder about them. All the simple goodness that you hope to find really does exist out there in this big world. The arch of the world is so good, you guys. There are scary things everywhere and sometimes it’s crippling – I know this. But the arch is good, there is way more of it than the opposite. Don’t ever forget it.
- Love is the same, pain is the same. Broken hearts and families who love one another and pray together and hold each other’s hand through dark times and good times and grieve and hurt and love and feel and enjoy and everything that you feel, they feel. Amy and I grew up in a really loving, beautiful, sheltered life. The people and places and ideas I feared as a child aren’t fears for me anymore. I looked them in the eye and found nothing scary, only love. I’ve witnessed grief and struggle on couches around the world, and felt connected to their pain. My favorite book on this is Mem Fox’s “Whoever You Are.”
- You are capable. This is back to that first-day-of-school feeling. When’s the last time you overcame something? Was it recent? Long time ago? Conquered a fear? Released a worry? Whether you hop on a plane three continents away, or go on a day trip only 20 miles away to the next town up, you expand when you do things that scare you a little. Not like, wrestling a lion scary, but like, speaking at your church or work, or saying yes to something you’re avoiding, or giving yourself a chance to fail. You may succeed, and maybe that’s actually the thing we’re all really afraid of?
- You are not that important. No offense. But you’re not. Neither am I. But here’s the thing: There is so much relief in insignificance. My son was so upset yesterday because he had on a girls helmet and he thought people were laughing at him. I took him by the shoulders and said, “Honey, no one is even paying attention to you.” Plus, it was the neighbor girl’s blue helmet. No one cares about you as much as you do, and probably like a handful of people. When you get out and see the world, your own world grows. You feel connected to this larger international community and feel a difference sense of your own importance. And I think this is so good for our egos.
- Happiness is elusive, nurture it inside of you. My husband loves the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. And in his defense, it’s beautiful. Thousands of square miles of complete wilderness. Lakes, creeks, cliffs, birds, fish, canoes, hardly another person to find anywhere. But we live in the city, and he can’t go there more than a couple times a year, so I always ask him: What small bit of solitude and nature can you taste here on a Tuesday morning? A Thursday evening? Whatever it is that wakes you up when you’re away can exist in your real life, too. Figure out what it is, and then chase it. You’re worth your effort.
Cheers to adventure.