I have a notion that the world is filled with people who are not pursuing their passions. Many are, but many, many people are simply missing out for no good reason. Probably a good sign that you aren’t pursuing your own passion is that that first sentence sort of irked you. You are coming up with all kinds of excuses to why you can’t or won’t do what is burning inside of you: Kids, too old, too late, too young, too tired, too fat, too skinny, too much debt, etc. For some, very few, the dream might actually be unattainable. You can’t very well go for the major leagues in your 50’s with a cholesterol problem. But who knows? Roy Hobbs did it, and he had a bullet in his belly. (A movie, I know, but there’s a reason why we all love it so much.) But for most non-physical oriented dreams, I dare say its never too late. And before you go standing on the side of “too old and sore to do it,” let me share a little story with you, a story for the poor little me 30-40-50-60-somethings reading this…
When I attended the Aspen Music Festival at the healthy age of 19, a bunch of my buddies and myself decided to climb Aspen Mountain, all the way to the Gondola (The very, very top. Waaay past the designated hikers trail, where plenty-o-oxygen could still be accessed.) Anywho, if you made it to the Gondola summit, you could ride free down. So we geared-up, and with youthful vigor began our quest. It was tough and one of the most physically tasking things in distant and recent memory. But finally, with cramps in our sides, one break for eating, and pulses a'pounding, we made it in 11 hours flat. For extra fun, we were attacked by birds who where no longer afaid of humans that made diving passes at our sandwiches.
When we got to the top, we were so proud. The view was spectacular. We took deep breaths of the cool, thin air and silently surveyed the blissful view. Then we looked at all the other people, who came up riding the Gondola, and took pride in our youth and our ability to do what others could not. We even had a little flag that we had constructed to plant at the summit.
Right about the time we were finishing our high-fives and ready to plant our flag, we all turned towards the incline from where we had just scaled... more like, crawled. A strange scraping sound emerged. Then a bike tire appeared, then the full bike, and sitting on the bike, I shark you not, was a man with a long white beard, white hair, and wrinkled, tanned skin that covered a whole set of tight lean muscles, covered only by a runner's loin cloth and a little tattered tank top that said “I Live Dammit.” The old geezer rode the whole way up the mountain on a bike in 8 hours. He had to have been close to 80. Everyone at the summit, (about 60 or so jaw-dangly people) turned and clapped, laughed and took pictures. You cold barely see the old man’s smile underneath the bushy full white beard as he stood by his bike and posed for adoring strangers, but his squinting eyes said it all.
After the applause ended, we had to force ourselves to plant our flag but we did it anyways, and rode the gondola down for our reward at the only KFC in Aspen. The old man, as we found out later, rode his bike back down. At the time, I felt a little like the old coot stole some of that sweetness, but really, he did the opposite. His prescence was a gift and a reminder: "You're living now boy, and that's good. Just never quit."
Fear is the greatest foe to living the abundant life that Christ has set us free for. It takes guts and faith to do what you are secretly or openly passionate about.
(A little Roy Hobbs Clip for your enjoyment.)