Something will always be lost.
There is a price.
One of my friends sent me a quote when we were juniors in college. I was out of town for a singing competition, and she sent me this little snippet from far away in Lubbock. The quote was from Floyd McClung: "There are those who want adventure but don't know there's a price to pay."
Boy, if that isn't the truth.
Adventure always comes at a price.
There is always something you give up.
I read an article recently that said that the question isn't "What are you passionate about?" or "What do you want?" It's "What are you willing to give up in order to have what you want? What pain are you willing to endure?"
And really, adventure is as much about loss as it is about gain. Maybe more about loss.
I can tell you all day what I gain from an adventure: beauty and the kind of life I've always wanted.
But I didn't know that this life I always wanted would be so painful.
I didn't know how much discomfort it would cause in me.
I've come to a veritable fork in the road, a choice that will guide my life and shape me. I am feeling pressure on all sides, from my parents and my peers (though I haven't even spoken to most of them about it), from old dreams and long-dormant ones that have recently woken up. Mostly I'm tired and I just want to nap and not think about it at all.
What am I willing to give up?
It seems an impossible choice. I understand the reference to Sophie's choice, even if it's not a movie I've ever seen.
On the one hand, I can give up a dream I've held, the only thing I know to do. On the other hand. it feels to me that the option is to give up my mind.
Really, though, the use of my mind, the exercise of its full capacity -- that is not really something I'd be giving up.
I want to use it, to bend it in all its directions, to feel the neurons fire and the warmth of activity spread throughout each fiber of the brain God gave me.
And at the same time.
I want most to feel like myself, and I don't know that ANY path that has presented itself to me has that ring to it.
The ring that -- you know when there's a song that calls only to you? You know how in Harry Potter, love potion smells like what is most attractive to the person to whom the potion is administered?
Nothing smells like my love potion.
There are familiar whiffs. But people tell me I'm living in a dream world.
Why can't I make my world into what I want it to be? Why is that so hard?
Because it isn't a perfect world.
Somewhere my inner child says, "But I can make it perfect!"
There is a castle on a cloud.
I am realistic and also hopeful. I am practical and I am a dreamer. And I do believe those things can coexist.
But this is not Heaven, and I AM forced to choose. I must choose a path to take.
And any path you take will involve loss.
Adventure involves loss, y'all.
We must give something up.
Comfort or freedom: you cannot have both.
Truth or comfort. Again, you cannot have both.
There is lots of space in the world that is colored various shades of gray, but these are things that ARE black and white, and this is one. You cannot have both.
There is loss and there is gain, and either way, you will have to give something up.
If I choose to move, as I have been planning to do, I will be giving up the closeness of a relationship I absolutely treasure. The relationship will still exist, but the physical nearness will be significantly diminished. Not to mention I will be far away from both of the places I've called home for the last seventeen years of my life. Comfort: I will no longer have the luxury of the comfortable. I will also lose the ability to choose, I think -- lose the ability to reinvent myself, to change my own life.
I can hear my own voice in my head: You are not locked in. Depending on the day, that inner voice can sound either condescending or utterly, deeply tender.
Well, I feel as though I'm locked in.
I find myself making more childish statements than I am used.
On the other hand, if I stay, I will be giving up an opportunity. I might be giving up a calling. I might be giving up something I love and can never get back again. And, again, I might be giving up the ability to choose.
Choice is invaluable to me.
And once we make a choice, we lose the ability to renege on it, to make that choice over again.
I think that's what I wish I had: the ability to make choices over and over again.
But once you have chosen: well, that's the thing. You've chosen. You cannot go back.
And so there is quite a bit of loss.
You lose whatever thing you did not pick.
Not to mention that the cost of doing business in Adventures (capital A) is loss.
It's the usual cost of choice, yes, but also simply the occupational hazard of being adventurous.
You lose respect, you lose your reputation, you lose friends, you lose comfort, you lose whoever you were before in order to become someone new.
And of course, this tells us that we must weigh the cost. We must choose wisely, for we will never be here again.
(As if I wasn't already aware of the height of these stakes, I have to psych myself out about it even more.)
Because, y'all, Adventure itself is a choice.
Once you step out onto the Road, yes, you may be swept away -- but you have the initial choice to step onto the Road or stay inside.
I want my life to be Adventurous, not safe.
But I did not know what it would cost me.
We don't know what it will cost to follow Jesus.
And let me tell you -- I am stressed. OUT.
I cannot comprehend choice.
My family as an entity has this terrifically awful habit of taking forEVer to decide something, and I hated it until someone I'm close to pointed out that I was the exact same way. Indecisive because I'm so very afraid of choosing wrong (that last part was my own addition).
Because I am paralyzed by fear.
Last night I took and wrote out, line by line, everything I was afraid of in my journal. It took up at least two pages. And my handwriting is small and the lines are close. Y'all, it was so illuminating.
This morning I felt so much lighter -- yet I have already taken the mantle upon myself again. It's a mantle made of lead and fire, like the one given to Arthur by Morgana le Fay, intended to set him aflame.
It lit her on fire instead.
I am on fire and I am afraid. Fear is making me smolder from the inside out, and no one can see it past my cheery phone greeting at work. We're having a wonderful day here at the Texas Tech Club; this is Sara; how may I help you?
But inside I am dying because all my peace feels like it's going up in flames.
Didn't I write this morning in my journal -- didn't I write Be dead weight?
As in: allow yourself to be carried and held by the solidity and stalwartness of Christ.
A mighty fortress is our God.
Be dead weight.
You don't have to try so hard.
You don't have to solve it yourself.
Your decision has already been made. And Jesus already has victory over it, and your life is brimming over with His victory.
I feel like I'm rocking on the waters, but really I am resting on the Rock.
And I don't believe it, so I hold all myself together with the strength of all the muscle fibers in my body, and still I am falling apart with the weight of my own sadness.
Like a rock. Like a ball of molten lead settling into my innards. Like the weight of the world on my shoulders. Like I'm Atlas -- and I'm no Atlas.
My life is brimming over with victory.
A choice that has been made FOR me -- and I cannot tell you how reassuring that is.
I am free and I am on fire in the good way and I am allowed to just go and take a nap if I want.
I don't have to carry the weight of my world.
And so for once I really don't have to think about it.
If I have Him, the cost was worth it. If I have His peace, whatever I gave up -- it is worth it.
Paul says that he counts all his gain as loss so that He may know Jesus.
If I am close to Jesus, whatever I had to give up for that -- on my good days, I don't even care. It's lightness and feathers and plastic bags tossed away on the wind.
All I want is Jesus and the peace He offers. I am sick to death of worry and control.
I give them up. I sign them away on the dotted line.
And then I am lit up not like dragon fire that consumes until all that is left is smoldering ashes and the taste of dust in my mouth.
No. I am alight like candles and crystal chandeliers and sunshine and silver and gold and all the light metaphors I've ever loved (and I've loved a lot of them).
Like bonfires. Like stars.