Do You Find the Unknown to Be Friendly?
“The most fundamental question we can ever ask ourselves is whether or not the universe we live in is friendly or hostile.” – Albert Einstein
A few months ago, Peter and I were treated to dinner by a couple Peter met when attending his first Rotary meeting; a meeting that was geared towards former Peace Corps volunteers like himself. He wanted to see if this group might be interested in learning about the Walk, and perhaps he could plug into a network that was spread across the country. He did get an opportunity to introduce himself and describe his upcoming adventure with 6 Million Steps for Kids.
The couple he connected with that night, Ken & Bernandine graciously reached out to learn more about the project and invited us over to their downtown loft for dinner. They are a delight! Interesting, kind people who have crafted a life full of adventure and serving others. A walk across the country was just the kind of thing that piqued their interest.
My very favorite part of this evening was towards the end when we’re sitting in their living room, finishing up dessert and Bernadine can barely contain her excitement. Actually, she didn’t contain it! She was literally bouncing in her seat at one point declaring, “I love the unknown!!”
I had never heard somebody say this so clearly, so directly and with so much enthusiasm all at once!
The image of this moment has stuck with me as Peter has moved forward and we each are adjusting to this massive change in our day to day lives. It’s been especially useful when I’ve found myself in the grip of FEAR. You just don’t get to leave life-as-you’ve-known-it without triggering a bunch of different fears. Depending on the day or night, the fear might show up and say:
– This is crazy! How will you ever pay your bills now that he’s quit his job??
– What if he hurts himself? What if he gets hurt and he’s out in the middle of nowhere with no cell phone reception to call for help?
– What if I can’t manage all these tasks at home now that I’m handling all of it? How will I have any energy left over for MY creative projects?
– What if, what if, what if???
There are SO many unknowns associated with this Walk! Every day is unknown as Peter walks new roads and doesn’t know who he will encounter, where he will eat and sometimes where he will sleep. He doesn’t always know where he will be speaking or how much money he will raise. He doesn’t know if his body will continue to perform so well while he’s hiking an average of 18 miles/day. He doesn’t know if he will encounter friendly strangers, aggressive dogs, terrible weather etc. He doesn’t know what he’ll do for work after the Walk is finished. After 27 years of steady paychecks and predictable work days – this is A LOT of unknown!
And then I remember Bernadine bouncing in her seat saying, “I love the unknown!” I take a deep breath and think that maybe she knows something I haven’t quite fully gotten; maybe… just maybe… the unknown IS friendly. Maybe the encounter with her – just prior to the Walk beginning – was no accident… but a gift delivered at just the right time.
I take a deep breath and am able to relax and just let this adventure unfold.