Defying Death: Adventure & Mortality

There is a grievous evil I have seen under the sun: riches kept by the owner to his hurt, and those riches perish by evil adventure... (Ecclesiastes 5)

I am an adrenaline junkie. This trait is the product of the many times I was urged on by my younger brothers, only to chicken out at the last second. So many trees I didn't jump out of...races I didn't engage in...hills I refused to slide down. By college, I pushed myself hard to learn to snowboard. I became a hockey goalie. I tried bungee jumping and sky diving. I kayaked down many dangerous rivers. I once tubed in the buff down a river in Minnesota.

All of these risk taking activities sound pretty mild - but there were other death-defying habits I developed that weren't so harmless. I was a habitual liar. I constantly amped up my own stakes in my own game, at the expense of those who naively believed me. I messed around with binge drinking for a while, at the expense of my body. I think self-harm and suicide fit in the same category of death-defying stunts that gratified that gaping hole in me that could only be filled when I was on the brink of something dangerous, breathtaking or bad. Satan knew just how to seduce me, and I often closed my eyes to his rather transparent attempts to draw me away from safety and truth.

I gave up most of those habits when I was given a family. They still lurk in corners and occasionally I toy with them a bit too much. But, for the most part, I've abandoned risk taking in favor of a more sedate...and with my husband and kids.

This insatiable thirst for adventure has cost me many things. One of the most bothersome to me is the dream of heaven. It is difficult for me to imagine how life could be exciting and perfect without any risks to take. How in the world will I enjoy myself if I can never die? Is that why Eve ate of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil - sheer boredom? Curiosity about how life tasted when the stakes were raised?

One of my cancer-inspired dreams is a good one: I slice through clouds with a snowboard, falling from a thunderhead a thousand feet to the sea of white below. I wonder if you still get that going-off-the-top-of-a-rollercoaster tickle in your tummy if you know nothing can kill you? I have to table my confusion until I get there and can ask Jesus. I simply can't imagine living forever and not losing the thrill of it. But then again perhaps I see life too often in the negative space, the black, not the white. Perhaps I don't really understand what it is to be alive at all.

Don't let the excitement of youth cause you to forget your Creator. Remember him before you become fearful of falling and worry about danger in the streets... (Ecclesiastes 12:1a & 5a)