Did you ever see the movie, Up? The movie is about Carl, a grumpy old man whose wife passes away before they do the last thing on their bucket list–visit Paradise Falls. Carl ties hot air balloons to his house in order to fly himself to South America to live out his last great adventure with his beloved Ellie on his mind and in his heart. There’s a lot more to the story, but Carl learns the beautiful message of the movie when he returns from his adventure, still not satisfied with the way his life has turned out. He sits in his chair and leafs through the photo album of his life with Ellie and realizes that their entire life, every single moment great and small, was an adventure.
The older I get, the more I realize that there are all kinds of adventures.
I never really thought of myself as an adventurous person when I was growing up though I’m sure I talked a big game! I never saw myself as traveling the world or standing atop a mountain or zip lining over the forest or gliding over the water by parachute. Now that I’ve done those things and more, I realize that the point of the adventure isn’t the journey the person takes or the experience the person has but how it forms the very nature and being of the person herself.
Going off to college was certainly an adventure with many ups and downs. There were days I just wanted to go home and other days when I thought I could conquer the world. Getting married was the beginning of a grand adventure, one that continues every day with twists and turns along the road and many times when the road is rocky or uncertain; but it has always been a road worth traveling. Having children… now there’s a never-ending adventure! Ken is counting down until the next phase–the grand adventure of grandchildren!
But honestly, sometimes the best adventures are the ones we just happen upon with no planning and no preconceived thoughts. When our family decided to take a drive to Creede last week, we didn’t know what to expect other than a long, two-hour drive. We never imagined seeing more elk than we could count or that a moose would cross the road in front of us!
Yesterday, Morgan and her bestie, Cat, went down to Lake City one last time before we leave Colorado and head back to Maryland. They met an artist who runs an art gallery in the tiny town with fewer than 400 residents. He told them that he lived in Hawaii for over fifty years, enjoying his time on the beautiful beaches day after day. One day, a man said to him, “I bet if I came back here in five years, I’d find you still sitting on the beach.” The artist told the girls that he deicided then and there that he needed to do more than sit in his beach chair watching the waves roll in. He left Hawaii and traveled the world, eventually heeding the call of the mountains and settling in Lake City. Now, he paints in his little gallery, telling tales of his travels to whomever will listen, and letting little children take a turn at helping him paint a masterpiece. He still sees himself as living a great adventure. I think that’s because he discovered not the world but himself.
When the girls returned, we hiked up Round Mountain, a peak near our cabin that stands tall at 10,882 feet. Within walking distance of our mountain home, we’ve climbed the peak many times, but each time is a different experience based on who is with us, what time of year it is, and what direction we go up and down. There are no trails, so we just choose a path and take it as it comes. Today, we discovered a bear or possibly a cat den that we’d never seen before. And that’s when it occurred to me…
Grumpy old Carl discovered something that most people never do. Every single day, every moment is an adventure. The truth is, we never actually know where the path will lead, what we will stumble across, or what we will find when we reach our destination. Our family learned long ago on our cross-country drives from Maryland to Colorado that the adventure lies in the journey. It’s the moose you see on the road, the sunrise you witness on the open plain, and the den you spy through the trees. It’s the moments when the kids are all asleep in backseat and there seems to be nothing ahead but an open road and a sky full of stars. It’s the the unexpected stop at the roadside museum and the friends you make along the way. It’s the growth within you that each experience prompts that creates the true journey.
As learned by Carl in Up and the artist the girls encountered, we all need to look at every life experience as a great adventure for it’s in life’s adventures that we discover ourselves. With each day, each person we meet, and each new thing we try, we learn a little more about ourselves. God gives us thousands of opportunities throughout our lives to experience adventures great and small and to discover who we are and how we fit into this vast universe. Chances are, one hundred years from now nobody will remember who I am or who you are, and all of the experiences we had will be null and void, but God has given us this short time on earth to explore our world and ourselves. We can only learn so much about ourselves by sitting at home watching TV, playing video games, or doing all of the mindless things that we do on a daily basis. But adventures of all kinds allow us to truly discover who we are, what we are capable of, and who we can become.
Now that the world is opening back up, take advantage of the chance God has given you whether on another continent or in your back yard. Find something to do other than lay around the house or just go to work each day. Look past the scenery, the immenseness of the world, the far-reaching horizon, and the expanse of the stars, and look into your soul. Who are you? What is your purpose? What adventure awaits, and how will it form you into the person you are meant to be? Perhaps you will discover that you are more adventurous than you thought, for the great adventure lies within you and all that you can be and have to offer.
My next book, The Good Wine, will be available on July 1, 2021 and is available for pre-order! More retailers are being added daily, so keep checking your favorite bookseller to see when you can order your copy. In-person special event launches as well as an online event are being scheduled. Subscribe to my Newsletter to get updates.
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Amy Schisler is an award-winning author of both children’s books and sweet, faith-filled romance novels for readers of all ages. She lives with her husband and three daughters on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Her books, Picture Me, Whispering Vines, and Island of Miracles are all recipients of Illumination Awards, placing them among the top inspirational fiction books of 2015, 2016, and 2017. Whispering Vines was awarded the 2017 LYRA Award for the best romance of 2016. Island of Miracles has outsold all of Amy’s other books worldwide and ranked as high as 600 on Amazon. Her follow up, Island of Promise is a reader favorite. Amy’s children’s book is The Greatest Gift. The suspense novel, Summer’s Squall, and all of Amy’s books, can be found online and in stores. Her latest novel, Island of Promise, was recently awarded First Prize by the Oklahoma Romance Writer’s Association as the best Inspirational Romance of 2018 and was awarded a Gold Medal in the Independent Publisher Book Awards 2019 for Inspirational Fiction. It is the 2019 winner for Best Inspirational Fiction in the RWA Golden Quill Contest, Best Romance in the American Book Awards, and a finalist for the Eric Hoffer Award of Fiction. Amy’s 2019 work, The Devil’s Fortune, a finalist in the Writer’s Digest Self-Publishing Awards and winner of an Illumination Award, is based, in part, on Amy’s family history. The third book of Amy’s Chincoteague Island Trilogy, Island of Hope, was released in August of 2019.
Amy’s books: Crabbing With Granddad (2013), A Place to Call Home (2014), Picture Me (2015), Whispering Vines (2016), Island of Miracles (2017), Stations of the Cross Meditations for Moms (2017), The Greatest Gift (2017), Summer’s Squall (2017), Island of Promise (2018), The Devil’s Fortune (2019), Island of Hope (2019), A Devotional Alphabet (2019), Desert Fire, Mountain Rain(2020).