Yearning, aching, longing, coursing thru my veins and my heart. Making my insides throb with desire. I want to know how to live this life well. And not just for the sake of knowing, but for the sake of living.
Today I went white-water rafting… and it made my soul come alive. As I was coursing thru the water with the surrounding Tennessee mountains and the open sky as my witness, I couldn’t help but sense that this feeling within my soul was God’s idea of the way His children should experience walking with Him. There I was on the edge of my seat, bracing myself with expectancy for whatever the water would bring my way, and loving every minute of it. A thrill was in the air. Movement. Balance. Action. Danger. Teamwork. Immersion. Beauty. Laughter. Life. None of us cared where we were going, but we were enjoying the journey for everything it was worth. And we were doing it together. A spirit of camaraderie was present. Whatever we did we did together. Sometimes we went at the oars with everything we had. Sometimes we rested and let the river carry us. Sometimes we were allowed to relax and play, and other times we had to be serious. At all times we listened to our guide. In one tough spot Jill fell out of the boat. With a fierce determination that gave me more strength than I knew I possessed, I reached over and pulled her back out of the waves into safety. I loved every minute of the trip down that river. It was wild and dangerous and made me feel alive. Tonight, something within me is hoping, screaming, and searching for the determination to believe that there is a way to live all of life in this manner. To live all of life being alive.
My heart is aching for this life, because just a mere few hours after the ride on the river I came upon a rut. My feet are prone to slip into this rut and even now I feel are inching towards the edge. While my day began with adventure, I fear it ended in complacency, with too many hours sucked away in front of an entertaining screen. We traded action for immobility, passion for apathy, relationship for entertainment. Yes, I was with friends. Yes, we were finishing out the day together. Yes, maybe you say I should be content with any amount of life I was able to obtain and not worry about the rest. But I cannot. My heart is dissatisfied. It aches and longs for more. Was I created to be alive for only parts of days? Or was I created to never stop living for a single moment? I want to live. And I want to live to the fullest ability that my heart, soul, body and mind can withstand. I don’t want to be satisfied with half-rate existence. I want it all. And I want to believe that its possible.
My concern isn’t that I watched a couple movies with friends. My concern is that it always comes down to watching a couple movies with friends. It is what my college culture does. Even the college culture that steps to follow Christ. Being entertained isn’t wrong, but being entertained never leaves me feeling satisfied. I walked away tonight feeling dull. My heart had lost its edge and the connectedness between those in the room had faded since the time we had stopped looking at each other and started looking at a screen, a reality that didn’t even exist. This is not a campaign against movies, at least not directly. This is just the voiced longing of one person who wants to find more. Who wants to see more clearly, taste more deeply, and live more fully than anything she is experiencing now.
These thoughts leave so many questions coursing thru my mind. Questions about where to find the balance between these two ends of the spectrum. I know life can’t always be thrill and excitement and yet I believe every moment can be part of a greater adventure. Every moment does not have to be serious, but every day should be spent exploring the depths of the wonder that is God. My thoughts return to the river with the fine line of balance in our journey. We were there to live on the edge and to make the experience everything it could possibly be. Yet we also had the goal of making it thru each rapid in once piece. The balance of accomplishing both these goals was a careful dance on a fine line of discernment.
The questions remain. Do I stay to be with friends and watch the movie, or do I leave to find better ways to engage my mind and my heart? Is it better to stay and build what little relationship I can, or can it be argued that mindless entertainment doesn’t build relationship at all? How long do I wait for others to want more than what we are choosing? When do I move on? When do I say no? When is it time to be in the world? And when is it time to not be of it? How far am I to go to relate to others around me? When does my heart start to suffer from stepping down too often? Am I insane for feeling this way? Am I the only one who craves this depth we are missing? Or do we all exist within sight of one another, each too hesitant to voice their true soul’s desire? I want so much more. Why can't we talk? Why can't we worship? Why can't we open the word together? Why can't we go for a walk? Why can't we be real and honest? Why can't we struggle together and carry each other's pain and joy? I don’t care if I am being unrealistic. Abundant life is God’s reality. He did not come so that we could have minimal life. He came so that we could have life to the abundance. White, foaming, rapidly moving life coursing thru the veins of our souls. So I cry to the author of this life to teach me the steps to this awkward dance. I want to learn. I want to live. I want to live life abundantly!