Dangerous and Beautiful


Keep going when it feels dangerous, rocky, scary.


I was thinking of this statement as I hauled load after load of firewood into my house on Monday. Like the slippery flash of hope, this red berry winked at me from its house among the icicles clinging to the ivy.

On Monday, I compared finding our whys to finding the most beautiful shells under the tow of the ocean waves. When I am so lucky as to dip my toes in the ocean, I am prone to fits of melodrama and misguided attempts at poetic waxing.  How wide and vast and deep and surprising are the seas. How beautiful and how dangerous.

Like the ice surrounding most of the country now. Most often, the beauty we seek is backed by something dangerous. Beauty, or the pursuit of such, comes with risk.

What if?

What if I write that thing and it’s really dumb and no one reads it and I feel even dumber?

What if I lose weight and my spouse doesn’t notice?

What if I go back to school and I can’t keep up?

What if I learn to knit or build a business or try to new recipe and I fail.

Or even scarier: What if I succeed?

I think the things worth pursuing usually come with a cost. I think the dreams we have do not come easily, and that is a good thing. I think that the danger peeking from around the corner is a challenge rather than a threat.

Only those willing to dig will find the treasure. We must be willing to sweat, and cry and stumble. We must be willing to stand in the face of danger and back it down with fire in our eyes.

Try this:

List your What Ifs, all of them, the beautiful and the dangerous. It’s ok, because nobody will see your list. And nobody cares, really, although we do all like to think we’re more important than we are. And that’s okay. Someday I’m going to be on the Diane Rehm show, that’s how important I am, in my mind.

Now, circle or star or otherwise indicate the scariest scary one. Imagine it through to its logical conclusion. What if you fail? Exactly what will be the consequences of that? Are they consequences that will cease the rotation of the earth or are they painful to our pride? Maybe somewhere in between?

Is the beauty worth the danger?