Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Seeing

Earth's crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God;
But only he who sees takes off his shoes;
The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.

I have written many posts on this blog about taking risks, exploring unknown places and launching the proverbial boat towards deep waters. And I have meant every word I have written as I feel passionately about not settling for status quo. That being said, I have been thinking a great deal about air travel and the altitudes at which different aircraft fly. And I want to share some thoughts that I have about this in relation to the topic of risk-taking.

Different aircraft are assigned particular altitudes based on a number of factors; direction, distance being flown, and the size of the plane. The ideal altitude for each craft is the one that has them flying most efficiently and thus using less fuel. Passenger jets typically fly between 31,000 and 37,000 feet. Smaller business jets operate up to 45,000 feet. And the Concorde has flown as high as 51,000 impressive feet, a height at which one can often see the curvature of the earth. Air traffic controllers determine when, where, and how high planes will fly based on all of these factors with the goal of getting people where they need to be safely, efficiently and without hurting others in the process.

My point here is that risk for the sake of risk is a life of madness. Risk for the sake of obedience to God is life at it's very best. And risk looks different for each individual. Some will be required, in the tradition of Star Trek, "to boldly go where no man has gone before", to hit the heights of the Concorde. For some, the greatest risk will be to stay the course, cruising at a normal altitude, when running off impulsively is easier. No one can define what is risk for another. Some will see risk and call it irresponsible while others will view a sound decision and say it lacks the vitality of adventure. Only the person taking the next step, in harmony with the heart of God, is capable of making that call. One thing is most certain...we were all created for high adventure, for ardent, technicolor living, and for, as Mark Batterson calls it, "refusing to allow your human responsibilities to get in the way of pursuing the passions God puts in your heart." Technicolor living is the full embrace of your own life, wrapping one arm securely around whatever risks He calls you to take and wrapping the other arm tightly around the beautiful mundaneness of the everyday. The ability to see the heaven and the fire that is right in front of you only happens when you are seeing your life through His eyes. The key is in the seeing.