I’m currently reading Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer. If you haven’t read this book, you might want to give it a try. The story is about a young man who grew up in a wealthy family. He abandons his money and possessions to invent a new life for himself in the wilderness. As a reader, you know upfront that he dies. The story isn’t so much about his death as it is his journey.
I like to read silently along with my students. They need to see that reading isn’t just an assignment. Reading can be enjoyable, an escape, a life lesson. I talk to them about the books that I’m reading for fun. They joke with me that I typically choose books with sad stories and steer clear of the fantasy ones. They weren’t surprised to know that this book had another main character who dies.
It was one of those silent reading times during my class that I read a passage that went beyond the book. It reached me. It spoke directly into my life and the crossroads where I have found myself lately.
“The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences…”
“You must lose your inclination for monotonous security…”
“I fear you will follow this same inclination in the future and thus fail to discover all of the wonderful things that God has placed around us to discover.”
“You are wrong if you think Joy emanates only or principally from human relationships. God has placed it all around us. It is in everything and anything we might experience. We just have to have the courage…”
“It is simply waiting out there for you to grasp it, and all you have to do is reach for it. The only person you are fighting with is yourself…”
I’m not living in the wilderness. I’m not even considering such an adventure. Yet, those words were there for ME to read. For me to feel. Those words were there as my spark.
I read these passages over and over. I instantly knew that they held meaning for my own life. I’m such a creature of habit and, admittedly, a control freak. This stunts my ability to see beyond responsibilities and expectations. Day in and day out, I tend to do the same things. Those things work for me. Those things are easy for me. Those things are predictable. Those things are also killing my spirit.
As the cliche says, life is short. Why am I just doing the same thing day after day after day? What would it hurt if I mixed it up a little? What might I gain if I just had the courage to move beyond my everyday? By sticking so closely to my usual routines, I’m missing the big things as well as the little things. Routines serve a purpose, for sure. They are also stifling.
I’ve been feeling that lately. I’ve also been unsure of how to move beyond it. The words on those pages gave me the answer. I just need to have the courage. I’m only fighting with myself. It’s time for me to reach for it. Lose the fear. Set aside the guilt. Forget what I “always” do. Change it up.
“Don’t hesitate or allow yourself to make excuses. Just get out and do it.” Yep- sounds like pretty great advice to me!