Tuesday, November 11, 2008

skirting the edge

Imagine it’s dark and you’re driving up a mountain, inching along because the only light is from your headlights – not even the moon is casting a glow. You follow the bends and curves, going farther and farther up the mountain, hoping with each turn that you’re almost there. Finally, finally, you reach the top but then have the arduous task of going back down. You ride your breaks the entire time, the speedometer barely topping 5 miles per hour. Each rock you drive over seems to feel like a boulder as you carefully make your way back down the mountain. Though you go slowly, you’re not scared because you’re unable to see anything beyond the road directly in front of you. Anything on the left or right you’re oblivious to, therefore fear isn’t a reason for your lack of speed – only wanting to make it back safely is your primary concern. You eventually reach the bottom and travel on your merry way, gratefully accelerating once on an even, familiar road. The next day you go back to the mountain, curious to see the object in daylight. Pulling up to the huge mass, your jaw drops as you realize you had been driving right along the edge, not even a guard rail there to protect you should you have drifted too far from the road. As you leave, you realize you’re shaking because the full impact of “what if” hits you full force. What if you had accidentally veered too much? What if you had taken one turn too fast and in an attempt to regain control, come dangerously close to the edge?

Life is much the same way. As long as we’re ignorant of what we should be afraid of, we won’t know we should be afraid. It’s like when you’re little and have this fascination with bugs. You love to hold them and collect them. Then you reach the point where you realize they can be potentially harmful and you’re suddenly scared. What changed? The bugs could have hurt you in the beginning but you weren’t aware of that fact. It’s only when we let our mindset to be challenged that we experience an upset. My challenge is that we don’t let what others may say, or life in general, change how we either view things or handle situations. If we don’t know we should be afraid then how can we be afraid?


  1. Ah, Malibu.... :-)

    That's a really great point about not being afraid. I don't get the bug thing (I've never ever wanted to get anywhere near bugs - ew), but I still need to be reminded that stepping into the unknown does not have to be scary. I think of it as not being "afraid to be fearless". I struggle (boy do I struggle), but I want to be able to do things, or even believe in things, without being afraid failure vs. success, or rejection vs. acceptance. I guess that's why God doesn't tell everything about His plan all at once -- it's a whole lot easier to focus on just what He's put in front of us if we're not distracted by the wind and the waves -- or the expansive view and lack of guardrails. :-)

  2. I just wanted to clarify about the connection to the L.A. trip. We were trying to find this pizza place, following the directions the GPS was giving and we ended up driving up this mountain. It was dark and we were lost and we kept thinking surely we're almost there but we just kept going higher and higher. We finally gave up and went back down and ate at a cute Italian restaurant but I just wanted to say that there probably were guardrails and we didn't go back the next day to see how the mountian looked it daylight. Don't want anybody thinking we almost drove off the mountain or anything :-)