“Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. The fearful are caught as often as the bold. Faith alone defends. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. To keep our faces toward change and behave like free spirits in the presence of fate is strength undefeatable.” –Helen Keller
When I was young I was afraid of a lot of things.
But the one thing I looked forward to time after time was the seasons’ change.
Every fall leaf, every winter flake, every spring blossom and summer afternoon reminded me that the world was working the way it was supposed to, that things were being held together for a beautiful purpose, that life was being recreated over and over again around me.
As an adult, a lot of those fears have held tight to me, but slowly and surely I am breaking free from them with the help of my family, who craves constant adventure.
In the face of our fears, it’s not enough to pretend that they aren’t there.
It’s not enough to cover up the scars that come from that fear.
We must do some reversals here, we must find the benevolence that is planted in our lives, where there is actually no room for fear to take root.
For me, it looks like a summer of exploring the beauty of Georgia with all my boys, a summer of stepping into so much newness–
a new position at church as the worship leader;
a new deadline to finish my upcoming book;
a new house to settle into;
the upcoming adventure of homeschooling two toddlers;
and finishing my bachelor’s degree online starting in the fall.
The other day I asked some friends on Facebook to tell me their favorite places to explore here in Georgia, and the list I’d made for our summer went from three places to twenty three.
Everywhere I’m looking these days, I’m being pointed back to the importance of soul work and exploration.
Even the story of Jesus and the four kinds of soil says something about the importance of journey, of honoring every person in every season of life while paying attention to our own journeys.
If I need an afternoon of slinging mud at the Chattahoochee, so be it, if I can break away from my fearful self.
If it is a Saturday morning at the Farmer’s Market downtown, I will go and rest in the presence of a group of people who make their life’s work about growth and life and creation.
One day we will visit the Etowah Indian Mounds an hour’s drive away, and I will remember my own roots, ask them to speak something to me, to teach me something new about my own journey.
And little by little, fear scales away and we are left courageous, adventurous beings.
And in the meantime, my children see their mother grow more bold everyday, and my deepest wish is that they find that soul-boldness themselves, held safe by the goodness of God in a beautiful and often broken world.
It is the way of our children to force us out into the world, isn’t it?
It may take me years to learn, little steps forward and back again, but I do not journey alone.
“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. To keep our faces toward change and behave like free spirits in the presence of fate is strength undefeatable,” said Helen Keller.
And if Helen can say that, you and I and the rest of creature-kind certainly can say it too.
May the exploration of our hearts turn us away from fear and toward the light of a new day, a new season, a new reality of Kingdom here in our tiny corner of existence.