18 July 2009

Danger: the spice of life

"A coward dies a thousand deaths. A coward dies a thousand deaths. A coward dies a thousand deaths."

Perched precariously fify feet above the boulders below on a 12/12 pitch roof - that's a 45 degree angle - Barry constantly repeated one of his favorite quotes.

So did I, as the joint man, sitting on the top of one ladder which barely reached the eave, holding a second ladder laying on the steep roof. This second ladder reached the roof's peak, and there Barry clung, swinging his hammer.

Jumping out of an airplane 4500 feet off the ground takes me back to that day with Barry. I don't know why - it's probably not the worst situation I've ever been in. But it was frightening.

And standing there in - no, outside - the door of an airplane with 80 mph winds in your face isn't the most peaceful experience either. But it's certainly exciting: there's nothing like falling out of the big blue sky to let you know you're alive.

Why do we like danger? Why are we not content to live safely? Is it a bad thing, like Eve taking the apple, or is it a good thing, like the disciples dropping the only lives they knew and following a homeless man, just because He asked?

Dietrich Bonhoeffer once said, "When Christ calls a man, He bids him come and die." But as Gus said to his lifelong friend in Lonesome Dove, "By God Woodrow, it ain't dyin' I'm talking about! It's livin'!"

Christ himself said that He came that we may have life, and have it to the full. And I think a full life includes some danger.


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