The scary step forward
This is for F.
Lately I’ve been really interested in American Westward expansion of the mid-19th century.
Partly because I just watched The Revenant again and partly because I just finished reading a fantastic novel, The Indifferent Stars Above by Daniel James Brown, which chronicles the harrowing western journey of several families, including the fated Donner family, as they traverse from Illinois in hopes of finding a better life in the golden promise of California.
It’s a fantastic read and humbling to consider how tough, how brave, how resilient those travelers were enduring sickness, driving snowstorms, and a dwindling food supply with no guarantees of success. And even more so, how scary that first western step must have been.
These were people, just like you and me, fueled by the dreams and promises for a better life.
As I read the final pages, snugged in my recliner, with my slippered feet up and a warm cup of coffee on the end table I shook my head and thought about how spoiled, how unresilient we can be.
Things go wrong in our life and we fall to pieces. We place external blame because– let’s be honest–it’s easy to blame other people or our conditions for our misfortune than take personal responsibility.
Unlike those early pioneers–Why are we so frightened by change? Why do we mouse away from hardship and difficulties? Why do we continuously fail to realize difficulties are food for growth?
Lately I’ve been feeling lazy.
At the end of February, I concluded 8 weeks of Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy with the best of intentions. I was inspired to continue with the rehab on my own. To make running a priority again. I was going to take the first step into a better future.
But my training has been inconsistent.
See–I want to start training again but I’ve been telling myself this sad little story–my work schedule is busy, my three children’s schedules are busy, my brain is still damaged, the weather hasn’t been great, and just getting through the day is enough.
But getting through the day is not enough. Because days turn to weeks and complacency can define a lifetime.
Our life is so much more comfortable than those early pioneers yet we often fail to push ourselves, fail to venture into the unknown. Why? Fear of the first step? Fear of failing? Dying?
So we grow comfortable with getting by and sitting on our hands, looking west, and just hoping things will get better.
But things only get better when we have the courage to engage and explore.
I hope this week, you and I both embrace what is uncomfortable. That we exercise our freedom to control our attitudes. That we do what is hard.
And I hope this week you and I can take the first step in the long journey toward our dreams.
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