Invisible Bridges–Risk vs. Opportunity

I read a fantastic blog post earlier today by someone who has captured my attention as of late. Ronna Detrick of Renegade Conversations seems to be feeding my soul with her words. She is gifted at seeing religion through different eyes—of taking the stories of women in the Bible and opening our eyes to the intensity, the risk, and the realities of what these women represent. Today she shared the story of Abigail from the Old Testament book of 1 Samuel. Abigail took a huge risk and serves as an example to the rest of us risk-taking wannabes.

The post got me to thinking about what potential risks I have suppressed in the name of keeping things safe and familiar. It also brings to mind the risks I have taken and am currently living through that frequently throw me into a feeling of panic and fear. I tend to see risk as an invisible bridge that connects that which we perceive to be safe with that which we perceive to be foolish or unattainable.  Just like Indiana Jones, setting foot on a bridge that appears to be nothing more than a free fall into the abyss below requires a heckuva lot of moxy. Too often, my moxy tank is about a quart low.

It seems I have a skeleton closet full of risks that have thus far been locked away for safe keeping. Hmm…safe keeping? Maybe that should say “…locked away for eternal imprisonment” or “…locked away to avoid the possibility of failure” or “…locked away to avoid offending someone” or even “…locked away because there’s no retirement or insurance benefits”.  Any way I look at it, there are things that I would love to say, be, and do that have been locked away to avoid the risks that are inherent in pursuing them. If I leave them in that closet, they will wither and die until there is nothing left of those dreams and desires except the skeleton. If I unlock the door and take those risks out into the sunlight, they might just take root and grow into something that feeds, clothes, and shelters me and my family for generations to come.

Of course, the greatest problem with risk is the fear of taking that first step onto the bridge. The screams of horror from onlookers who don’t know about the bridge can be overwhelming. After all, maybe the bridge DOESN’T actually exist and I’m totally insane. Maybe they are right and it would be better to die on the safe side than risk losing everything to live an adventure. Maybe I’m not supposed to walk a bridge to the other side. Maybe I am supposed to dive off the ledge of safety into a whole new world that the panicked on-lookers don’t even know exists. Maybe, just maybe, my Pandora lies at the bottom of the abyss.

One step, one leap, don’t look down, don’t look back. Breathe.

4 Responses to “Invisible Bridges–Risk vs. Opportunity”

  • Angie: First, thank you for the glowing endorsement. Second, so amazing what you’ve written and offered here! I love, love, love the idea of finding Pandora at the bottom of the abyss. You redeem Pandora and our constant tendency to shove everything inside that might be even remotely dangerous (to others or to ourselves). And you leap – boldly and bravely. Keep doing it! And no…don’t look back. What’s ahead is more life, hope, passion, desire – all good (and yes, beautifully dangerous) things!

  • Thank you, Ronna, for your words of encouragement. Here’s to the breath-taking views that come right after that terrifying leap.

  • Interestingly enough, my reference to Pandora was actually a reference to the Pandora from the movie Avatar. Ronna’s comments gave me cause to look further into what/who Pandora might actually be. (I slept through most of my mythology lessons in school.) Reading the explanation of the mythological character known as Pandora gives this post a slightly different twist than I had originally envisioned.

  • This is a very good post, thanks! It’s the first time I come to your website, just found it in Facebook. I’ve been browsing around and there’s a lot of top quality material. But one thing… I tried to add it to my Google Reader and just can’t. Perhaps it’s a problem of mine only… I’ll let you know if it stays like this!

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