I am prone to the radical. I am likely to do temporary things like shave my head or grow a beard but am also likely to do lasting things like marry a woman I had known for only 8 months, 6 months if you count my time out of the country. I may go live among African tribes and I might even do it twice. I may get bored one summer and enlist in the U.S. Army for 6 years. I may take a strange Alabama Co-Ed to the 2000 Orange Bowl (I can't overstate how completely platonic it was and how the use of the word "strange" is not an accident). I may embarrass my wife by correcting a note my son's teacher sends home and writing on the note "-4" and sending it back...it did contain a dangling participle and I hate it when flighty women with a degree in elementary education pretend they are the absolute authority on raising children. I may fake a car wreck to get my wife to her Birthday Surprise party. I may be found at a Jewish Sabbat service. I have attended an exorcism and I have done CPR on 3 different people...for the record I am 1 for 3 though my lone positive outcome was in 12 different newspapers and one national magazine. I may speak on a panel of "medical experts" (which was laughable on many levels) for the Alabama Department of Public Health's nationwide CME program one day and be invited to be on an MTV documentary on prescription drug abuse the next. I have attended AA meetings though I am not an alcoholic and I was once honored by the Huntsville Chapter of the Civitans Club for simply cooking chicken over an open fire...which by the way lead to one of the two times I endured Salmonella. Which leads to another thing...I have had salmonella, giardia and malaria so I feel as though I am a walking petri dish. I once provided marital counseling to a couple-he had only one arm and was a crack addict but she was cheating on him so I feel as though it kind of averaged out...by the way, they divorced. I have been bitten by a poisonous snake, I have seen a black Mamba..though thankfully that wasn't the snake that bit me. A baboon tried to get into my car once and I was once being tracked by a cheetah...a real one. I was sexually harassed by a "Cougar" boss I once had and I once had a breast biopsy with no anesthesia.
The more I write the more I feel like Forrest Gump so that's enough about me for now.
While I have had to settle down a bit since getting married and having children I still have thoughts about taking my family to some far away place to live off the land, be a farmer or even take the CIA up on their offer from several years back (It's amazing what a security clearance can get you down the road). I love the thought of doing something radical, something outside of the box and something adventurous. I was daydreaming about something cool to do today and it hit me that the most spontaneous, weird or unorthodox things I have done isn't adventurous enough. I can pretend that I have lived a wild life but it will be just that...pretending.
I did indeed do all of the things above...and those are just the tip of the iceberg...but from a spiritual place I find something saying, "so what". I hear that some people try to live a life to compensate for ego issues, insecurities or something else...and maybe I have. Maybe rock climbing up the face of a cliff is crazy but it is nothing compared to the ultimate adventure. Perhaps people applaud those who stare death in the face and smile...personally I sweat and become really mean and judgemental when that has happened to me...but death doesn't hold a candle to real adventure. Just like everything else in this world, the best adventure I can conjure up is a Sissy Adventure compared to the adventure of following God with no regard for personal safety or personal advancement.
Not a single great character in the Bible became great without a period of time in the wilderness...usually alone and usually in less than ideal circumstances. Moses, Abraham, Elijah, Jacob, Joseph, David, Paul, John and even Jesus had wilderness experiences.
Joshua, once he entered the Promised Land...a land that was full of people who wanted to kill him and his people was ordered by God to do something crazy...and arguably adventurous..."circumcise yourself". Now I have been in some fights in my life and I don't think one of them would have ended well if I had been circumcised just prior to the fight.
The relatively young disciples are just getting the hang of being around Jesus and who does he end up dealing with? A naked, demon possessed man...talk about your crazy friends. And what of the sleep habits of Jesus? He sleeps when all hell is breaking loose in a storm at sea but doesn't sleep during calm nights because he wishes to pray. And what about the value system of Jesus? He came to set the captive free and did for the woman with bleeding, the woman caught in adultery and many blind people...but his cousin, John, was beheaded and Jesus never went to set him free...he just sent what amounted to a postcard..."The blind see, the deaf hear and the lame walk". If I am John I am thinking, "and what about those who are to be beheaded?"
Maybe our desire for mountain climbing, mountain biking, skydiving and other forms of adventure are just attempts to fill the gaping void left by not having true adventure with God. The idea of fasting for 40 days is scary to me...but isn't real adventure found when confronting fear and overcoming the natural tendency to avoid pain? Leading my wife and sons spiritually is a hard task..but adventure by design isn't supposed to be easy. Selling out to God and submitting my agenda to His will is uncomfortable...but adventure isn't for the faint hearted...and passionately following God, recklessly following Jesus and blindly opening ourselves to His Spirit isn't for the faint hearted either.
May we all choose God and the amazing adventure he makes available to us...if we do, jumping from a plane, volunteering for Ranger School or eating rotten fish in a West African village will be no big deal.