You’ll have to excuse me, but I’m feeling rather philosophical this morning:
It’s the things/people we care about most that have the power to give us joy and also cause us pain. I know this isn’t an original thought. But it’s been on my mind recently, and I think it bears repeating. Certainly none of us gets through life without learning the truth of it. Examples are all around us. The dream of true love might last a lifetime or turn into a true nightmare if the relationship ends badly. The prosperous career may bring satisfaction and financial reward or may crash and burn when the economy suddenly goes south. The cause we’ve poured our life’s blood into may succeed gloriously or fail just as spectacularly.
When my husband and I were first married and discussing whether or not we should have kids, I remember saying that children would probably be our biggest sources of joy as well as our biggest heartaches. Parenthood, I figured, would be worth all the sweat and tears if the kids turned out well. But even if we did everything right, which wasn’t likely, things could still go horribly wrong. There were no guarantees. (In case you’re wondering how things turned out, we have two sons, all grown up, and we’re very proud of both of them!)
The problem is there’s no joy without emotional commitment. That’s just how we’re wired. Yet the more we care, the more we risk being hurt. The same paradox applies to all emotionally risky ventures. It may seem safer not to get involved, not to lay our hearts on the line, especially after having been hurt before. Yet that would be to opt out of the best life has to offer. I know I’m supposed to be quoting Jane Austen, but what comes to mind here are the words of the Bette Middler song, The Rose: “It is those afraid of dying who never learn to live.”
I don’t consider myself a very brave person, but I do venture out on a limb occasionally. That’s where the fruit is, after all. Right?
For the last several years, I’ve been pouring my heart and energy into my writing career. It’s been a true gift to have something new and interesting going on in my life at this stage, and I’m very thankful for it. It certainly would have been safer to stay in my comfort zone – maybe dabble a little, but not attempt publication. Instead, I went all in. Yes, there are moments when I wonder if it’s worth it. But oh! What I would have missed if I hadn’t tried!
They had a rich reward in store, for every present inconvenience. (Sense and Sensibility, chapter 43)
What risky ventures have you undertaken? And what were the results? Is there something new you’re thinking of trying?