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Archive for the ‘living on the edge’ Category

A Lesson From Jean-Luc Picard

Star Trek: The Next Generation

Image via Wikipedia

I am a Trekkie.  I admit it.  I’ve been a fan since the 60’s when Kirk, Spock and McCoy were first roaming around the galaxy.  I remember watching the show on a black and white TV – and then moving to a color set sometime later.  This show was in reruns on cable for years after and when I heard that they were going to start “The Next Generation” series in the late 80’s – I was not interested in watching it – being loyal to Kirk, Spock and McCoy – but after it came to an end – some seven seasons later – we started seeing it in reruns and got caught up into it.  Now I am a fan – and own all seven seasons on DVD – as well as ALL the Star Trek movies 🙂

One story in particular from “Next Generation” has always been interesting to me.  It is an episode in which Captain Picard receives an opportunity to go back into his past and change things.

Time travel has always been an intriguing notion for me.  I love the “Back to the Future” trilogy with Michael J. Fox and pretty much any movie that deals with that subject.  And I mean, who doesn’t want to see what life was really like for your parents or grandparents?  I’m sure it wasn’t all “pie in the sky” as they sometimes try to tell us.  People are people with the same inclinations and temptations – in any decade or century since the beginning of time.

In the episode where Captain Picard goes back in time – it is to change a circumstance in which he got into a bar fight as a young cadet – and in that fight had a sword put through his heart – and would have died if there had not been an artificial heart (only in the 23rd century people).  And though he was grateful to be alive with that heart – it was not without its problems as with any technology.  So “Q” takes him back to “fix” the mess that got him into that fight to begin with.

Ultimately he learns a lesson about himself. It was his feisty and competitive nature that got him into that fight – but also propelled him into opportunity for his future.  He was a risk taker and someone who lived on the edge.  He was not afraid to go after things with gusto and dare to excel in places that most would not.  When armed with the knowledge of the future events about his artificial heart – he goes back to the past – determined to avoid the fight and keep his heart in tact.  But because of his new cautiousness – everything in his life changes in the future. He jumps to the “present” after carefully avoiding the bar fight – and now in an “alternate future” – with his own heart – he finds himself on-board the enterprise once again – only this time he is NOT the Captain – but a lowly ensign. He overhears his “superiors” doing a review of him – and they say that he is a nice man – but one who has always been careful – and afraid to take a risk. It was too bad, they said – he had a lot of promise.

This is the worse thing that you could ever say about Jean-Luc – and he repents of wanting to go back and “fix” his past – just so he could have his real heart. He gladly accepts his fate as part of his journey for being himself and following his heart – so to speak 🙂

How many of us face a similar crisis of faith?  Faith that things happen in life and along our journey because it is the way it needs to be? There is a rhythm to our lives and only God knows the back story and our future story and all the reasons for things in between.  When we try to “fix” things – we are never successful.  It is like gambling about our future and not having the right cards.  Never a good idea.

All of us were given character traits and gifts.  If we are using them as God intended – we are going to have things that happen to us along the way.  Things that are uncomfortable – and things that we would sometimes like to change.  But because we don’t see the “big picture” of all of our events, like God does – changing things in our past would only be harmful and leave us feeling empty and be a life squandered. There is a reason things happen as they do.  It’s taken me many years to be comfortable with that knowledge – and just when I think I really do understand it – I slip back into the “WHY IS THIS HAPPENING TO ME??” thing again.

God knows all about our lives.  Things come to us to shape us and make us who we are. Those hard and painful things – are more than just inconveniences and things to avoid – I believe in every one of them – there is a lesson. And I am grateful for all of them – for the friends I’ve had to say goodbye to – for the situations that I had to go through, but them ultimately walk away from – for the uncomfortable process of learning more about myself and others – and for separation from things and people who I really thought I couldn’t live without.  Through all of these things – there has been a reason.

And in all of this I say, “Thank you Lord – for your blessings – through the storms of my life.  For the things that have made me who I am today.  For the additions and the subtractions of my life – for the pain and regret – the friendships and loss – for all of it  – Thank you”

I want to live my life with the unswerving conviction – that all things happen for a reason – and not live with regret – but press forward – using everything that God has given me – unafraid to take those risks and try new things – those things that make me uniquely – me.

God Bless

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Living On The Edge

I recently ran across this article from my new blogging buddy  Elizabeth Esther.  She explains how her daughter wanted to jump into their pool with her dance recital outfit on – to know what it would feel like to ‘fly’ with it on.  It’s a sweet story complete with a picture of her ‘in flight’ after Elizabeth finally relented to letting her daughter ruin her outfit for that ‘thrill’ of flying through the air.

Absurd?  Impracticable?   Foolishly frivolous?   Yes.  All of these – and more.

A chance to ‘let go’ – to ‘run with reckless abandon’ and do something spontaneous – just because.

We lose this ability as we mature.  We become responsible and (gasp!) practical.  We think in terms of conserving and ‘pulling in’ – often times squelching any creativity or spontaneity.   Because we are grown up and have to act responsibly – I mean if we don’t – WHO WILL?  Right?

Do you remember a time when you ran through the sprinklers in your yard (or someone else’s) and got soaking wet?  Even your hair?  And it felt SO GOOD, didn’t it?  Just kicked off your shoes and ran through!

How about the time you risked your life swinging on a rope swing?  The kind that was on its last few precious strands of rope weeks before and everyone that was swinging on it – you just knew they were on borrowed time?

When was the last time you had a popsicle?  The kind you used to get when you heard the ice cream man coming?  My favorites were banana and root beer.  How about a slurpee?  When was the last time?  They’re not just for kids you know 🙂

We grow up and get ‘careful’.  And not just ‘careful’ – but ‘cautious’.  Life becomes so serious to us – and granted – there is much to be serious about.  There are bills to be paid – and family situations – but there is also a mind-set that creeps in – if we’re not careful.  The mind-set that fun is for the young – and life becomes very mundane and predictable.

Well – that may be okay for you – but NOT FOR ME!  I love excitement – I even have to have something exciting for breakfast!  No dull and dry cereal for me – NO SIR!  I need something – ANYTHING with a little pizzaz! A yummy bagel with flavored cream cheese – or a wonderful mouth-watering scone – or a Danish with a little something extra – you know. Greg likes the same thing for breakfast everyday. (Boring) He really likes it like that!  Amazing!

I like to ‘live on the edge’ – LOVE adventure, romance and just plain living! Greg likes consistency and routine.  That’s where he is comfortable and safe.

Greg knows that I just can’t ‘exist’ – but that I love to express myself – share love and friendship with those in my world and – love to explore new places and get to know new people – and love to encourage others to LIVE and LOVE life!!   And in this ‘new season’ that we find ourselves in – it is nice that we are both now self-employed and can do some of the things we’ve always wanted to do – it doesn’t always take money to do them – (we don’t have any – so that’s good!) and I’m thrilled for that!

We do something fun everyday. Each day is an adventure.  We had been married far too long – raised a couple of children before we realized that the ‘fun’ and ‘spontaneity’ had been robbed from us.  I blame so many things on that – the families we were both raised in (duty, work and responsibility) and the church we found ourselves in for years (appearances and being an example) – and yet I know that these only served as a guide – and did not mean to suck the joy out of our marriage – but somehow – they did.  Add to that the stresses of life, family situations and burdens from those in crisis close to us – and even some dysfunctional behavior from others and mix it all together and you can get a very dry and tired marriage. With no joy.  Safe, predictable, practical and boring. A slow death sentence for me.

Bringing ‘fun’ back into our marriage was a choice – but also a necessity. Without it – we would not have made it.  We took a step toward excitement – and I’m happy to report that keeping things ‘fresh’ and ‘new’ has become our theme song after 29 years of marriage.  We were both Christians since we were children – so our faith was never in question – just our ‘duty’ and commitment’ became old and stale and we needed a better reason than that to keep doing the same old things over and over and over again.  Like a worn out song that never ends – is how our marriage was becoming.  We were becoming that couple with an ‘arrangement’ but that really wasn’t very happy anymore.  And it scared us.  We refused to be that couple and live that way – with separate lives and interests – pulling further and further apart.

How did we turn it around?  We brought FUN back into our relationship.  We looked closely at us.  Not the ‘us’ as parents of our two wonderful children – not the ‘us’ as a ministry couple (as most people had known us) – not the ‘us’ as wonderful obedient children of our own parents – but we just stepped back and looked at us. And we had to go back and remember just what it was that sparked that interest and kept us – way back then.  The ‘little’ things that meant so much back then.  We started doing that again.  We started thinking of ways to be creative without much money – going and doing something interesting everyday together – being spontaneous and FUN!  Not holding back or squelching each others creativity – but allowing each other to be exactly who we are. And that included allowing each other to grow individually without feeling threatened by it.  I have a lot of friends and love each of them in their own special way.  Greg now understands how important that is to me and does not limit me – nor is he threatened by it.  I understand Greg’s need to feel ‘safe’ by routine and his work – and encourage him to do the things that make him most happy and fulfill him as a man.  It is a win/win – born out of necessity – and has grown into something secure and trusted – a mutual respect and understanding for each other – two completely different people who decided to grow old together and two people who chose each other.

Here’s wishing you and yours some fun and spontaneity – as you endeavor to ‘live on the edge’ in your marriage and in your own personal life.

God Bless

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