Guest Post Friday – Journeying

It is Guest Post Friday, and today’s post comes from Ethan Bryan, a man who holds the record for “Most Diving Catches in One Minute.” You can check out his blog here, his books here, and follow him on Twitter @ethan_bryanIf you would like to submit a guest post, click here

Yogi Berra offered this gem of wisdom for those walking on life’s journey:

When you come to a fork in the road—take it.

Robert Frost composed a brilliant poem on choosing between two paths:

I shall be telling this with a sigh

            Somewhere ages and ages hence:

            Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

            I took the one less traveled by,

            And that has made all the difference.

Musician Rich Mullins sang these inspired words:

Well, sometimes my life

Just don’t make sense at all

            When the mountains look so big

            And my faith just seems so small.

I recently emailed Steven Pressfield, the genius behind the books The War of Art and Turning Pro, once again asking for his advice in the middle of this mission-quest-journey-adventure-thing we call life.[1]  And Pressfield replied,
Ethan,

            I cannot be in the advice business.  Who can?

            Look into your own heart, that’s the best anyone can say.

            All my best,

            SP

*    *    *    *

 “Tell me your dream job and you could win an autographed copy of Jon Acuff’s newest book, START.

I replied, “My dream job is to play baseball for the Kansas City Royals.”  The dream, I know, is absurd, ridiculous, childish.  I’ve held onto that dream for more than 36 years.  I’m now approaching 40 years old; currently, there is only one person on the entire 40-man roster for the Royals who is older than I am, and only by six months at that.  My dream job entry, somehow, was chosen, and I won an autographed copy of START.  I was delighted to crack it open and sit with it.  Upon receipt, I posted on Twitter:

Just won a copy of Jon Acuff’s new START book, though I highly doubt it will help me to get any closer to the dream job I professed to win it.

And I was right.  There is absolutely nothing in this book that will help me play baseball for the Kansas City Royals.  But since the Royals haven’t called and my fastball can’t crack 80 and I don’t know if I’ll ever be stronger than “warning-track power,” I write stories and try to find ways to bring hope into the world through words.

Five years ago, when I least expected it, an idea bombarded my brain, something like a whisper to the deepest part of my being.  I felt like I was “supposed” to write a book—a thought that had never previously crossed my mind.  As I was trying to make sense of this random, raw intuition, a couple of friends pulled me aside to talk to me, as opposed to talking with me.  They sat me down and with serious tones accused me of trying to use stories to draw attention to myself.  They wanted to define me and tell me what I could not do, who I could not be.

For the rest of your life, people will try to tell you which stories you need to live.  They might take one glance at your “lucky fin” and say, “You think you can do these things but you just can’t, Nemo.”  But there is nothing more important than you being the beautiful, amazing, curious, creative, irreplaceable you.  There is nothing this world needs more than you knowing who you are and living out your story.

Thankfully, the same night as that horrible conversation, I read the amazing words of Steven Pressfield.  Toward the end of his masterpiece, The War of Art, Pressfield writes, “Creative work is not a selfish act or a bid for attention on the part of the actor.  It’s a gift to the world and every being in it.  Don’t cheat us of your contribution.  Give us what you’ve got.”

Today, I write my words and share my stories because they are the only ones I know.  I am not in a position to say if my stories are “good” or even “right;” my experience on this beautiful ball of dirt is but one of seven billion.  But, as I write my words, I feel that I am being “me,” that I am being true to the dreams whispered into me.

And as I read START, that’s exactly what I heard Acuff saying.  Acuff challenges all people to have the courage and the gall to chase their whispers and audacious dreams, and then do the hard work necessary to be who God whispered them into being.

Every day on this journey of life I am faced with the choice of settling for the ever-evolving-yet-unattainable American Dream or chasing after the whispers within.

And every day I take a breath and write a few hundred or thousand words, and trust that the One Who whispered into the deepest part of me is with me every step of the way.


[1] Shout out to Lord of the Rings and Peregrin Took.

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