Today, as I tried to clear my mind from a day of frustration towards work and studying for a test I must soon take, which I may bomb, I began to contemplate why I was working so hard for a new future.
There are the obvious answers. I feel that God has a plan for me. I want to make something of my life. I hate what I do now with the fiery passion of a thousand suns.
But there is something more. Something that I believe has kept human-kind moving ever forward since time began.
We all crave it. Grown men and women, young children, teens sitting in 5th hour Algebra. I do not know any person who has not at one time other felt a desire to have "more adventure" in his or her life.
History is packed with it. In fact, most of what we know about ancient cultures comes from studying their remains (an adventure in itself) and their stories, which are inevitably all about their adventures. Ancient Greece and Rome, The battles of Troy, the Spartans, Hercules great tasks. Ancient African stories about jungle creatures and their adventures in taming their worlds. Native American stories about great battles, or how Raven gained the Sun for the earth through an adventurous trick. The stories of 1,000 Arabian Nights, filled with terrible and horrifying adventures.
Looking at the world today, it seems that it would almost be easy to say that all of the cool adventuring has already been done. Want to know what is on the other side of the world? Google it. Explorers hundreds of years ago already took ships around finding everything (even though plenty of people groups were shocked to discover they had been lost). Want to climb the highest mountain? It has been done. Want to fly around the world? Done. Want survive a tornado by strapping a leather belt around your waste? Bill Paxton did it for a movie (that was real footage, right?) Anyway, you see my point. It seems at the surface that all we have left for true gritty, never before done adventure is Deep Space Travel and Deep Ocean Travel. That and ridiculously dangerous adventures (Steve Fossett ring any bells?).
But the more I think about it, the more I think the truth of the matter is that all of the easy adventures have been taken. The most difficult ones are yet to be conquered. There is still more adventure to be had in this world than we could ever fulfill. Discovering continents, battling dragons, topping mountains, and even fighting space aliens are all tough tasks. But they are nothing compared to the real adventures that await humankind.
So I can't climb a mountain and say I am the first. Fine. What if I am the first person to say that I played my part in eradicating the sexual slave trade in Taiwan?
No new continents to discover you say? How about I join the team that pioneers the great breakthrough that discovers the cure for cancer cells, HIV, diabetes....
We've been on the surface of the moon, but what about being the farmer that works with our surface here to feed hungry children?
Women are raped. Men are slaughtered. Children are torn from their beds. All so that different factions of people can claim superiority to a ragged and tired piece of bloody land. What an adventure it would be to wade into that mess, with a message of love and peace, and actually being a part of the people who see to it that homes are safe, families kept together, love a greater threat to leaders than guns.
The adventures of our future will find their anchor in the hearts of mankind, not of the earth. We have "conquered" the mountains. We have "mastered" the land and sea. But all the while we have ignored the most dangerous adventure, exploring and conquering the struggling world of man (and woman). As long as there are homeless, hungry, abused, and abandoned in this world, we have plenty of adventure awaiting us.
Some reading this will say that these are the hopes of an inexperienced dreamer. They will state that once I have had a chance to see the way the world works, I will understand that these things are not possible. That I can try to help, but that there will always be another war, another disease, another sick son of a bitch who wants to destroy children.
And they are probably right. But the adventure is not in the completed task. It is in the act of completing it. History may not remember those who sought adventure and failed, this is true. But it also has no recollection of the masses that told the Wright Brothers they were ridiculous to want to fly. It looks back with disdain at the way people treated Galileo. Those who told Magellan, Marco Polo, Neil Armstrong, and Emelia Earhart that they should focus on tangible, achievable goals.
And there are already plenty of modern day adventurers to join. People in the last century who lived lives of adventure that centered around people. Martin Luther King Jr, Gandhi, Mother Theresa, and Nelson Mandela are some of the famous modern day adventurers. But there are so many more. Slightly less known, but just as adventurous, Greg Mortenson, author of Three Cups of Tea. Brother Andrew, who brought has spent the last 20 years trying to bring peace and understanding to differing peoples in the Middle East. Muhammad Yunas and his brilliant micro-lending plans.
And then the countless individuals in every community who are stepping into adventure to help their world and community.
I don't really want to be remembered amongst these men and women. But I do know what stirred in them, and it stirs in me. They took the easy adventures, and I applaud them for it. But I am not afraid of the adventure awaiting me. It will be just as daring, just as terrifying, just as exhilarating.
Join me in an adventure?