Sometimes I wish I had a crystal ball.
At this point in my life, when I’m at a fork in the road, and I need to make some decisions about which path I’ll take, I wish I could see just a little farther in each direction.
Or maybe I don’t.
The thought occurred to me when our daughter and I recently attended a Mother/Daughter weekend at camp, an experience she received in exchange for a traditional birthday gift. To make the weekend extra special, some sweet friends from our old church joined us. This family has been in our lives for almost fifteen years. We met them when we were both expecting our first child, so our kids have known each other since they were born.
What a treat for all of us!
On the first evening of the weekend, the camp offered “night zipping” as an activity. (Zip-lining in the dark.) Having zip-lined on many occasions before, and most recently across a canyon in the mountains multiple hundreds of feet in the air, I wasn’t scared at all.
It was pure excitement!
When we got to the top of the zip-line, the counselor who was assisting us asked if we had ever done this before. We told her we had zip-lined many times before, but never in the dark. She said there is an ongoing debate about which is scarier for first-time zippers. Zip-lining during the day when people can see what they’ve gotten themselves into or zip-lining at night under the cover of darkness.
I tried to put myself in that place. If I had never zip-lined before, which would I choose?
The fact is, there are benefits to both experiences. If we zip during the day, we can use the facts presented to us to make an educated decision about whether zip-lining is within our range of tolerance.
If it is, we zip.
But what if it’s not?
We miss out.
That’s when night-zipping becomes more handy. Because it hides from us those things that would potentially keep us from stepping off the edge. If we can overcome the hurdle of the unknown, we enter into a thrilling, fun experience.
Life is like that too.
My OB/Gyn often says that “maternal amnesia” is God’s gift to humanity so that couples will agree to have more than one child, thus doing their part to repopulate the earth. Because if we remembered all of the challenges that came with pregnancy, birth, and our first newborn, let’s just be honest. Many of us would never agree to have more than one child.
I think the same thing can be said about the future.
If we had the advantage of knowing how every decision we made would turn out, I think most of us would be paralyzed to do anything. Because life is filled with difficulty and, from a distance, I think those difficulties often appear insurmountable. We underestimate ourselves and God, believing that those difficulties are beyond our tolerance level.
So often I hear people say, “If I had known how hard this was going to be, I never would have done it.” And yet, they’re doing it.
They’re surviving it.
They’re making it through the hard things.
The hard things refine us. Make us stronger, braver, wiser versions of ourselves. They grow us. Shape us. And challenge us. Through the hard things, we become better reflections of the image of God out in the world.
Even still, as I sit at this fork in the road on my life journey, I’ll confess, I want the crystal ball. But instead of standing paralyzed for the fact that I can’t have it, I’m choosing to zip-line in the dark.
I’m not doing anything dramatic or earth-shattering just yet, but I’m taking spirit-led baby steps into activities and adventures that don’t really make any sense to me. And I’m trusting that God is going to take all of it and turn it into something beautiful.
Do you want to join me?