Sunday, November 2, 2008

On the Edge

My mom kept many sacred relics around her home, so this poem by her granddaughter thumb tacked to the wall by her bed for 20 years can be considered especially precious. In an unusual fit of organizational bravado this morning, I was finally mounting it to a frame, when the last lines brought together the fragments of thoughts swimming aimlessly around my next blog entry which for days had not been congealing very well.

I do know that walking on the edge is beautiful, and this daughter of mine has taught me this so well. At 23, fresh out of a fancy college and headed into a wide, wide world, full of hope, wonder and optimism, my heart bonded with her little soul and we merged our lives there on the edge of a mountain on the Oregon Coast. 18 months later, I was marrying her pregnant mother, leaping into a settled life of family, committed to writing, making music and earning (for the time being) a living as a carpenter.

Well, even though not all dreams work out, it is important to appreciate the gifts that come along the way. Walking on the edge is dangerous, but unexpected rewards are abundant to those willing to dare the risks, making it truly beautiful.

Lately, living on the edge involves gathering up the salvageable pieces from the crash of huge business risks, and learning to move forward in spite of it all. In fact, embracing these changes, after the losses have been mourned, actually uncovers a wealth of unexpected surprises and abundant good fortune.

As I reflect on the losses and gains, no matter how painful these last months have been, by risking everything to live more passionately, life has become enriched by a universe of compassionate and supportive people. Where I feared humiliation by going public with these stories, the response has been so gratifying, one can only be encouraged to open the heart all the more.

Why this valuable lesson could not be learned in the last 20 years, and a marriage revived, is a question I cannot bring to bear in these pages out of respect for another loved one. Suffice it to say that FEAR is a powerful enemy that constantly pulls us away from the edge, makes us live in fits of genius smothered by spurts of caution that inhibit, rather than support, success.

To thrive, we must live ALIVE, risking judgments of foolishness from others, but honest to ourselves and the dreams that beat our hearts.

So this week, after the local notoriety about my cannon lost and regained, and the national exposure of my human frailty and determination, life has settled back into routines of soccer games, grocery shopping, and earning a living with a hammer (still). This week, it is easy to pause on my roofing job, safely harnessed against a fall and humming my new song, to consider how close to the edge I am living.

The challenge lies in the everyday life of walking safely on the ground, along the store aisles, and still feel on the Edge.
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persistentillusion said...

Beautiful, Kip. You are so honest.

Laurie said...

Sometimes when our lives are in the midst of chaos, it feels that we are walking forever teetering on the edge but a different edge. Being there causes one to lose sight of the passion that life can give due to living in survival mode and walking on egg shells. It is nice when the chaos settles, one can sweep up the egg shells and begin to look for the edge you speak of. The risk is scary but the idea of going back to where one (I) was is even scarier.

Wonderful post Kip. You heart sings a beautiful song; your pen records the melody.

Anonymous said...

'To thrive, we must live ALIVE'

I loved this line Kip. So very, very true. It rings a bell for me because I've felt like I have been sleepwalking through the past two years and am only just beginning to awaken from that.

Lovely post