Last week I had the chance to watch the incredible Pixar film “UP” with a whole pile of middle and high schoolers from our church here in Fort Myers. Many had not seen it, so there was tons of laughter, only a few dry eyes, and many comments about how most had thought it was supposed to be “just a kids” movie but now saw otherwise.
Since the viewing and discussion, I’ve been thinking that there are three kinds of adventure in the story … and the same three kinds of adventure in our own stories, too.
Adventure #1: the kind that you seek out
“Spotlight on Adventure … Adventure is out there!” – Charles Muntz, UP
We have a dream. We plan a trip. We have a bucket list of things to do. We know we have a limited number of years here and no one gets off this planet alive, so we go on a quest. We long for more adventure times and days and places. We look around at the mundane stuff and think, man – “real life has got to be out there somewhere!” Some seek it in mountains, some in thrills, some in deals or career changes or relationships. We seek it out.
Adventure #2: the kind that is thrust upon you
“This isn’t my concern … I didn’t ask for any of this!” – Carl, UP
We get interrupted. We’re going for Plan A and life hands us Plan D. Our dreams get frustrated. Our plans get complicated. There’s a loss, a change, a bait and switch pulled on us. Suddenly we’re faced with something that we didn’t plan on but it is right here, didn’t sign up for but is on our plate and staring us down. The only question now is one of will and courage – we will face it? embrace it? or walk away? (Every time I think of this I recall Frodo’s lament – “I wish the Ring had never come to me!”)
Adventure #3: the kind that is there all along
“That might sound boring, but I think the boring stuff is the stuff I remember the most.” – Russell, UP
Like it or not, every single day with every single person is an adventure. It’s not sought out or thrust upon you so much as it is chosen or seen. It takes eyes to see this differently. The same routine of work, the same flow of your day with meals and errands. The similar string of places you go or people you bump into. The little traditions or rituals that you keep. You can see it as boring or mundane or banal, or you can see it as a gift, a grace, a beautiful and brilliant life to be embraced in all its riot of people and personalities and perspectives and possibilities. There is a bigger Story fleshing itself out in your (seemingly) little story. Adventure isn’t necessarily out there. It’s here and now, today, in the faces and places around us. It’s in the soul, in the heart and mind, in the interior life that we ignore or close the door on because we don’t want to face what’s inside, we don’t want to confront the scaffolding that supports our self or the mask that we put on every day.
Sometimes we get to seek adventure out. Sometimes an adventure is thrust upon us. Maybe that will be your story. Sometimes real adventure is never as sexy as the dream. But it has the advantage of being here, now, in front of you, every waking moment. Learning to see this kind of adventure is itself a kind of repentance, a metanoia, a turning around and change of heart and ways (let that be a teaser for another day!). To the one who has ears – hear!
“Now go have new adventures!” – Ellie, UP