There is a restlessness that boils in our hearts and minds, a dissonant note that drones in the ears of our soul from time to time. It beckons us to launch out, to pursue great and mighty things, to chase down dragons, pen epic verses, paint glorious pictures that would cause all eyes to proclaim the glory of existence and God and life. But these thoughts are generally short-lived and only resonate in our conscious selves like echoes on their third and fourth bounce. And even if we were to pursue these grand goals we assume that we would be forced to join the ranks of Frodo, Lancelot, or Ghandi and leave the places we know and the people we love for always in our minds and our hearts the grandest of adventures is “out there”, over the next hill, away from the life that we seem to have exhausted of novelty. But that is not necessarily the truth. It seems that the grandest and most glorious tales in our lives are not yet to be written because we haven’t gone far enough away, but because we have yet to explore the depths that we’ve been surrounded by all along.
What if it’s not on some quest or distant journey that we find our life, but in completely opening ourselves to the things that God has graciously set us in the middle of? I will never find life away from my wife, children, friends, vocation, and opportunities if I cannot find life within those relationships and tasks. Getting away from it all is a consistent solution in our culture. The songs, books, and films that guide our social experiences locate the answer to our deepest questions in road trips, epic journeys, and relocation. And while temporarily “getting away” might provide healthy reprieve from the tensions of daily life and new perspective through different proximity, what we will always find, if we are willing to be honest with ourselves, can be troubling. The turbulent cries of our souls to align ourselves with something that will answer the restlessness within is only to be found in plunging headlong into our own lives, not trying to adopt someone else’s life for a season.
There will never be a greater adventure than learning to love the one you’ve committed yourself to in a complete way. There is no epic journey as mesmerizing or defining as raising a child. And the rest of the life you have right now is no different. We fantasize about how we would heroically face down dragons, hordes, and evil armies all the while we ignore the daily opportunities at heroism in the very life that we have now. Every day we can stand bravely against hate, fight courageously against distraction, we can love ferociously and sacrifice with reckless abandon. The life you’re heart wants is indeed hidden in a journey, but ironically it is the journey that you are already on.