I wake to that reality.
The baby has pooped- he won’t go to back to sleep. Its not 6:30 yet. The others will be awake soon. I slept through my alarm and missed my morning routine of bible reading and jogging around the neighborhood. I won’t be alone again till 9pm tonight. This isn’t a pleasant thought. The rain has continued through the night. The front yard is muddy. The bills are piling up. There was a tough situation to deal with last night with a person in our community that left my wife and I feeling drained.
Thoreau once said, “Only that day dawns that we are truly awake” but that’s not really true, right? Easy for Thoreau to say, in his one-man, man-cave of a cabin on the shores of Walden Pond. He didn’t have to get 4 kids fed, lunches made, and out the door to do the morning carpool by 7:30. No, this day is dawning, whether I’m ready or not.
And oh yeah, its my birthday. And I’m 14,245 days old according to this link.
Birthdays don’t mean as much now as they did as a kid. My 3 year old is ready for her birthday now-she’s planning the activity- thinking of the outfit- planning the cupcake down to the very color sprinkles she wants- and its 3 months away. For those of us that consider ourselves as adults, we’re lucky if our birthday gets remembered with a dozen shout outs on Facebook and a birthday card hand drawn by the kids.
We were at the mall last week getting hair cuts from the brother in law and I saw a huge digital display in the front window of the Eddie Bauer store that screamed out: LIVE YOUR ADVENTURE! In the photo the guy was skiing and it all looked so good. I had a longing: I need more adventure in my life.
Truth is: I love adventure. I love standing on mountains. I love getting away. In what now feels like a past life, when I was younger I travelled to 6 different continents, spent a month living in Guatemala (alone), and drove around the United States and eastern Canadian provinces in a white van named Hope for 6 months. Adventure was my middle name. But mostly life now is about something else- living well the every day life that doesn’t feel too adventurous on most days.
The adventure is looking smaller these days. Simpler. Less exciting to the outside observer. Some days I’m still plagued with my evil twin “Adventure Sund” who dares me to drive out of town and not stop, who says I should be doing more, going to more places, going crazy with activity. But slowly, as day by day goes by in this full season of young family, growing church, youth soccer, etc., I’m slowly learning adventure isn’t as important right now. Right now the big adventure is serving my wife lovingly and learning to listen to her and care for her as she really is. Or training my son how to drive a boat and be a better leader with his friends. Or teaching my daughter to believe in herself and have healthy friendships. Or patiently guiding my 3 year old and not lose it when tantrums erupt for the seemingly insignificant things that drive her nuts. Or caring for my baby boy by putting down my phone and laying on the floor with him and play for extended periods of time.
These are good adventures- much, much smaller- but if I live the life well that God has given me in this specific time and specific place, I’ll better understand the man that God created me to be. I’ll not dream about different adventures or bigger bank accounts or better vacations to more exotic locales. I’ll be too busy living the adventure of the beautiful every day life God has given me right now. Paul speaks of this good life in the letter to the Ephesians: “I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” These words were true for the church in Ephesus; and they are true today. I want to live a life worthy of the calling I’ve received, the life I’m actually living now versus a false notion of a more adventurous life out there somewhere. The grass isn’t greener, it needs watering everywhere.
I want to live that kind of life today, on my 14,245th day. That’s the adventure I signed up for. I want to live it well.