Monday, July 09, 2007

"Remember When We Almost...?"

Last year Tom and I were driving along a country road and I pointed and asked, "Remember when we almost bought that house over there?"

I thought awhile and then laughed and asked, "Do you realize how many things we've just thought about doing, but never actually did? How often we've just talked about big plans, but never followed through? Like, remember when we almost started a bed and breakfast inn? Or when we almost visited Prince Edward Island?"

"Remember when we almost moved to Las Vegas?" Tom joined in.

To which I replied, "Well, I'm grateful beyond words that one fell through. But let's see... remember when we almost adopted more kids? Or almost became foster parents?"

"Or when we almost bought that huge house in Niagara Falls? Or about twenty other large houses around Western New York? Or when we almost took an ocean cruise? Or a train vacation?"

"Or when we almost went to the drive-in movies over in Buffalo? Or when we almost bought a boat?"

Well, we went on and on like that and laughed through some parts and groaned through others. But mostly we agreed on something: we play it too darn safe. We're not Risk Takers. We think things through, often to death, so much so that we usually end up doing nothing the least bit risky.... or new.... or exciting.

That can be good, or it can be bad (rather like most things in life). It's saved us from spending lots of money, but other times, it's saved us from lots of memories and adventures.

I believe that initial "Remember When..." conversation changed us, at least a small bit. We've loosened-up, had more fun, gone around with more of a spirit of adventure, even if so far, it's been mainly adventure in our own backyard.

We're viewing Life differently, I think--realizing that no one is going to come around and force us to take some risks ... Nobody is going to stand at the edge of our rut and yank us upward by the hair.

We'll have to climb out of that rut on our own.

Lately we've been taking baby steps by visiting places which, for years and years, we just drove past, one of us usually saying, "We'll have to stop at that restaurant some day." Or that museum... that park... that antique store... I don't know how it is where you live, but here, businesses come and go like clouds on a windy day. Wait too long to visit that mom and pop hamburger stand, and you'll regret it. You'll drive up to it and find the windows boarded-up and trash rolling along the parking lot.

That happened to us just last week. Again. This time, at a darling round-shaped hamburger stand on a country lane, one whose parking lot always was packed with cars all the previous years we drove past. And the drive-in movie theater in Buffalo? It closed this year after being in business more than 60 years. (We do have one left in nearby Lockport.)

You just never know. It really is possible to have one chance to do or see something or even (especially) someone--and miss out forever. Sometimes we're given just one chance to get it right.... and often just one opportunity to do what God, Himself, wanted us to do, as well.

Tom and I are hoping to spend this last half of our life staying awake to those opportunities... to be more brave, more obedient... and to enjoy Life more.

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