My mind operates most efficiently and effectively when I think in pictures and metaphors. Words work well, but something I can see helps me tremendously. Even in a conversation I find myself retaining more when there is a written dialogue or follow up afterward. When someone speaks words to describe an idea I can get it, but not as readily as if I “saw” the idea. This may sound a little odd, especially from someone who writes a daily blog, but it is truly fitting when you consider that a blog is a “visual” media. I can see the words. I add pictures that in some way are iconic to the story. Often they are almost a more true and accurate portrayal of the point I’m attempting to get across.
Why in the world did I start there today? When I focus on today what I find I am most grateful for is a specific vision in my brain… the edge.
I envision hiking in the mountains. The path I’m on offers two options.
One leads through a wide and flat path with tree cover on each side. I’m completely protected and safe from harm as I walk up the mountain.
The other winds along the very edge of the ridge overlooking the impossibly steep drop of a thousand feet. The wind whips at my face, tickling my beard hair and threatening to push me off balance. The view from here is a vivid panorama which will forever haunt my dreams. The beauty and immensity is without compare as I view miles and miles of exquisitely carved rock. The closer I walk to the edge the better and better the vista becomes. So much more of the majesty of the landscape is visible as I nudge myself closer and closer to the edge. The adrenaline pumps through my veins as I realize how close to danger I am, though I know with careful attention and discipline I can stay safe… barring some crazy, chaotic, and unexpected force of nature.
I choose the edge. The closer I get the more alive I am, the more heightened my senses are, the more acutely I am aware of the present moment. I must focus more. I must work harder. I must push further. The edge is the most difficult of the routes, but it reminds me of the beauty to be found in suffering for a worthwhile purpose.
Today I saw examples of the edge in a handful of moments. Sometimes I walked it, other times I avoided it. I was reminded of how important it is for me to intentionally choose the edge.
What capped it for me was watching Dominic’s first varsity track race. Without having practiced this specific distance he was chosen to run the 800m. For one half mile, two trips around the track, he would be propelling himself in what he described as a controlled sprint. From the gun Dominic hit the jets. When he passed the start for the first time it was easy to see he was right on the edge. He’d gone out so fast and so hard I was nervous he wouldn’t be able to sustain his pace…
Dominic pushed it right to the edge throughout the entire race and was rewarded with a 2nd place finish and a personal best in his first 400m. By the time he crossed the finish line he’d fully expended himself. Dominic started on the edge, ran the edge, and ended on the edge.
After the race his track coach came up to Becky and I with a huge smile on his face and couldn’t stop talking about what a gutsy and gritty run Dominic had, especially for his first time ever at that distance. Talk about two proud parents!
Walking (or running) the edge doesn’t mean putting ourselves in harm’s way, rather, pushing ourselves to the very edge of what is possible. Once we feel for and find the edge we almost always find that there’s even a little closer to the edge we can get.
Today I’m thankful for the reminders to intentionally search for the edge and to not allow myself to be lulled into