Of Failing and Fun

The end of the singles group at church could be compared somewhat to a failed relationship. I didn’t get out of it what I would have liked, lost interest in the end and it felt more taxing and stressful keeping it going as long as I did. A couple of months later, having had time to distance myself from it and recharge my batteries, I’m left not with negative feelings, but with an overwhelming sense of whatever I do next – I want to have fun. Now, “fun” for me doesn’t mean the same thing as it may to others – you should know that about me by now. Some people think having fun is going to a bar and drinking or clubbing (that would be the dancing kind, not the beating other people or seals). No, having fun for me is something entirely different. For me, it means doing something totally out of the norm, to break up the boredom or monotony that sometimes plagues everyday living. And this is where you should wince or perhaps brace yourself for impact because there’s been some notable examples of this kind of fun in my life in recent years. Where to begin?

How about 2006 when I returned to the U.P. to finish out a road trip that I had started the year before but which had come to an abrupt end because of the tree limb incident? In finishing up the trip, I was bored with the sights and had to do something AS memorable as the year before – it being my Birthday and all. So, I went parasailing, even though I don’t like unsteady heights and am not that comfortable in water. The irony was that it wasn’t the adventure itself that was fun, it was telling everyone about it that made it fun. June must be the month for me to pursue wild adventures as the year before – after the “incident” – I started kickboxing. Now that’s FUN all the time. Though, I must say, there again telling people that I kickbox and seeing their reaction – that’s fun too.

For me, there also has to be an element of danger or thrill in the adventure for it to be fun – as in overjoyed that I survived and have a wild story to tell. I only go into such adventures when I reach a point in my life where I have nothing to lose, where I’m so desperate for a change that I’m willing to risk my normal for a chance at something else. That was the case when I helped start the original ACTIVE group at my previous church. Every event initially unnerved me, yet that’s where I learned the thrill of surviving and walking away with an often times hilarious story to tell. It also built up to my trip to Peru. Traveling alone in a foreign country where I would have to traverse mountain after mountain – what was I thinking indeed. Somehow, reaching a low point or a rut has pushed me enough to try something completely different and from that, from each fun adventure I have gained a blessing.

And this is where I find myself now. I’ve come to the end of what I thought I was supposed to do and it didn’t work out as I imagined. All the work that I put into it felt like it wasn’t enough when I was asked to do even more with even less support. I get tired of dealing with situations like that – where I’ve done my best only to be told in different ways that it’s not good enough. Sometimes all the control you have is to give up and walk away. When you do that, you realize how much effort you put into the relationship – trying to keep it going when the signs were clearly there that it wasn’t worth the effort after a time. So, I let it go, thinking perhaps some day when things settled down that I would revisit it mentally and see what, if anything, there was to salvage. I think sometimes God has us go through things more for the experience, not necessarily the outcome.

It’s been a couple of months now since the end and the distraction of the kitchen remodel is over, giving me time to contemplate. What I’m finding is that there’s nothing to review. The journey that was the group, brought me to a different place in my life, a new chapter. Having tossed aside any remaining bad feelings over the demise of the group, I just want to relax and enjoy life for a time. While that may sound selfish, there’s a lot of healing that goes into doing just this. For me it means doing something that I may never have had (or thought I had) the opportunity to do before. It was while in this relaxed and waiting position that I became aware of a new opportunity – one which seemed really wild and out there, too impossible to even fathom. And yet, at the same time, one that I felt prodded to think about actually doing something about. Having already taken the first step, and so far so good, I can look back and realize that I never would have done this, I never would have been as desperate to attempt this had my group been successful and I had continued on with it. And I’m more than okay with that – I’m thrilled by the opportunity. I now can’t imagine missing this experience. I don’t know what the final outcome will be. I may not even write about this current fun “adventure” but already I know that just pursuing it has brought about a blessing to my life even if it originated from an unlikely source..