Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Maybe its time to Live on the edge

Everyone has something to do and somewhere to go. It’s what God created us for. We humans seem always to be on the go with no time to spend relaxing. He placed within each one a drive to exceed our limitations. Man cannot fly so he invents an airplane. We get tired running so we invent an automobile, we can’t swim long distances so we invent a boat. We are always trying to exceed our  limitations. We want to live outside the box.
Is this need to escape our bounds only a human thing? I think not. Why does the chicken have a need to cross the road? Why are our highways littered with road kill? Deer, polecats, armadillos, and even family pets can be found daily in the middle of the road. They went somewhere they had not been. They left their comfort zone.

A while back I hit a little squirrel. It was racing across Highway 18 in the Bienville National Forest. He, or maybe she, jumped out of the security of the forest to cross the road heading for another forest on opposite side. I saw him as he saw me, half way across. He didn’t stop or slow down. He actually sped up. I hit my brakes and swerved. “Faster little squirrel, faster, you can do it, you’re almost there, oops, too slow.”
It bothers me to see any living thing die, especially when I am involved. But, I wondered, "Why was the squirrel trying to cross the road?" There were large, acorn bearing, oaks on both sides of the road. If he was hunting food, he could have stayed on his side. Why this morning did he run across the road, risking his life or more accurately sacrificing his life for what? Inside that squirrel’s head there must have been a reason. Was it really a instinctual thing, searching for food? Or was it something deeper, a need to exceed his limitations? Could it be the need for adventure? 

Abraham Maslow's proposed a hierarchy of needs beginning with physiological needs, continuing on with safety, love/belonging, esteem and ending with self actualization.
Maybe the squirrel was fulfilling his need for self actualization. Maybe he would have been the first of his family to cross over and return. Maybe it wasn’t about success or failure, maybe it was about playing the game. 

A few miles beyond the squirrel was a six inch black turtle, inching his way across the road. I swerved and avoided sending him to turtle heaven while he nonchalantly kept crawling to the safety on the other side. A couple of years ago the government’s stimulus program set aside several millions of dollars to dig a tunnel underneath a highway in Florida so that turtles could use that because it was too dangerous for them to cross the highway. I am betting that when the tunnel is completed the turtles will still cross on the highway. What self respecting turtle would wimp out and crawl through  the tunnel when he can have the adventure of plodding across the busy highway dodging semis and SUV’s. That is something he can tell his children about.

All life on this planet has been instilled by our creator with a sense of adventure, curiosity and a desire to live on the edge. Unfortunately our system of education and governmental regulation wants to take the thrill out of everyday life. We are all to be wimps cowering in our basements, living in fear of; the next swine flu epidemic, the next bank failure, the next, automotive bankruptcy, the next … next ….next.

We are created by God for a purpose, to reach our destiny. As long as we are too afraid to leave our comfort zone and to reach out and do something we have never done before, to risk failure or ridicule, we will be considerably worse than the turtle or the squirrel.
The turtle lived, the squirrel died, but both broke free of their limitations, taking a chance.

 Maslow describes self actualization as the desire to accomplish everything that one can, to become the most that one can be. This has been labeled  a "fully functioning person", "healthy personality", or a "self-actualizing person."

What is keeping you from crossing the road, fear, apathy, or are you too comfortable? Maybe it is time to do something drastic. 

You may get run over, you may make it across. It is time to take a chance. 

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