I have had a lot on my mind lately.
Amidst the grading, the lesson planning, the never-ending to-do list, I spent a good portion of my early morning hours today daydreaming back in the past: the days of living on the farm in the country. I was 12. And I was fearless.
I'd hang out at "The Giant" - a large willow tree on the edge of our property by the wheat fields. It became my personal goal to always climb a little higher. Just one more branch, just testing the support it could give me, just looking for a new avenue to see above the treetops. I'd fall a few times (thankfully no permanent damage!) but I'd be back at it right away, knowing what didn't work and what I needed to adjust to be better, to be stronger. Where to distribute my weight, where to lean with the wind, where to use the willow's natural footholds rather than what I thought was best.
I consider this a metaphor for life. I wish more people today were willing to take risks. I wish our society could learn from our mistakes so that we can become better, kinder people. I wish that more people understood that we can't always see everything that's ahead, that we can't always see that next branch. It might hold, it might not, but we'll never know if we don't try. We can't always predict where life will take us.
I learned. I learned what to do (and what not to do). Why can't we keep learning, just for the sake of learning? When did something new become a hindrance rather than a challenge to embrace? Why must new opportunities be met with "I don't have time" and "I don't agree"?
Because let me tell you: when you take that last branch, the view from the top is worth it. No matter the trials, the missteps, the falls, the tears. If you keep trying, if you keep learning, you'll make it.
Climb a little higher.