Those times when your happy little umbrella of optimism has blown inside out, and you find yourself face down on concrete. Then what do you need? Your first response to this question might involve a change in circumstances, such as, ” I need for [Person Whose Life Is Currently Affecting Mine] to [change some behavior that is making me crazy].” or “I need some basic law of nature (gravity, phases of the moon, weather) to adapt to my current activities.”
Good luck with those.
The chances of your need being met under these circumstances may not be impossible. God can do anything, I am convinced. But for those times when, for whatever reason known only to Him, He chooses not to change a situation, let’s say that this is not an “I wish” kind of question. Instead, it’s a “What’s my need at the deepest level?” thing.
Because sometimes the greatest adventure happens when we investigate what we need within the circumstances we can’t control.
While you’re enduring pain, looking for a job, caring for someone in need, searching for love, experiencing stress at work, feeling anxiety about the state of the country or the world, or any other undesirable state of affairs… Stop and think for a minute about your own needs. Maybe they include Sleep. Peace. Reassurance. Strength. More faith. A good cry. A punching bag. Solitude. Company. Or laughter. A few years ago, my young friend Alison and her family found themselves in a truly terrible place. Her grandfather and her father died very suddenly, within a couple days of each other. The double funeral was one of the saddest spaces I’ve ever shared with anyone.
I wondered how they could even function.
But one of the ways they responded to their grief was so remarkable, I asked her to tell me about it. She wrote: [Before the funeral] We were sitting in the kitchen, having a discussion about how much we were dreading this weekend of complete sadness and grief and people and everything that funerals entail that you never think about until it’s your turn to bury someone you are so close to. We were just completely petrified and scared of how we were going to react to everything…how draining it was going to be. And my brother decided (wisely) that after the really hard stuff was over, it might be nice to have a day of laughter…because that is what Dad would have wanted. Dad was such a joyful person…When I think of Dad, I think of his laugh. I think of me and my brother and him laughing. All the time. And where do people go when they want to laugh and have a good time all day long? Well, King’s Dominion [an amusement park] of course! Why not? We mentioned it to my grandma and I honestly didn’t know how she would feel about it since we wanted to go the day after she buried her husband and her son…but she was all about it! At the park with Grandma on that warm, sunny day, we rode rides and would take turns sitting with her…or sometimes she would just sit and watch us ride. My favorite part of the day was when we passed the carousel, and Grandma was like, “You know, I think I could handle that.” So we all got on the carousel, and I remember looking at her, my Grandma, this woman who had been through as much if not more than my brother and I had been through that week, and she was just smiling and laughing on her bobbing horse. And I was so grateful to be alive with her in that moment. It was a good day. It was something we needed. We needed to remember my Dad and my Grandpa, and we needed to remember we were still here and we could still laugh. Even then… Did laughter take the pain and grief away? Of course not. But it was a catalyst for healing and peace and the deep satisfaction of remembering their loved ones. Does the family still ache? Absolutely. But their willingness to embark on this “adventure”–to risk doing (and asking Grandma to do) this counterintuitive, countercultural thing–was creative and brave… and even holy. Because–and I have personal experience to back this up–in the middle of life-out-of-control, when you take a minute to sit with your heart, God is not above showing up on a merry-go-round to give you what you need. Want more where this came from? Check out the very first post (Your Epic Adventure Starts Here), where you’ll learn about starting a yearlong (52 questions) quest to practice living a life of adventure. As a bonus, you will also find the backstory for that ridiculous herd of buffalo on the header photo of this website…