YPM blog

Risking to Really Live!

“If we risk nothing, we risk everything.”
Geena Davis

Words are never sufficient when we lose those we love. My heart goes out to all of you who understand this. A year ago, we lost my beautiful and courageous niece, Samantha, my sister’s daughter. Sam was 23 years and 5 days old. She stepped out in risk… a lot. Sam loved mischief. She loved adventure. She loved deeply, especially little children. She risked using her voice for others and for advancing a worthy cause or project. I learned so much from this young, yet very wise soul. I understand that losing those we love is part of life, but it is difficult to accept. It is painful. Grief from our loss lingers within us. I am also learning that grief is part of healing.

It is becoming clear that I must risk to really live which in turn honors what Samantha taught me about living. I am learning to risk through stepping out in adventure. I am: risking to stand up for what I believe… risking to support others…. risking to share my faith… risking to speak words of love over judgment, perfection or self-doubt… risking to take on physical challenges when my mind or fear would prefer to stop me.

My sister, Gail, (Sam’s mom) decided that every year on the anniversary of losing her daughter she would express her love and honor for Samantha by engaging in an adventure on that day. She extended this invitation to all of us on our family vacation. We (Gail, Sam’s sister, Sarah, my Mom- witnessing and capturing on digital from the shoreline, and me) started this tradition last week. My sister said that she did not want “the day” (or life forward) to forever be filled with only sadness. She desires life to be filled also with the joyful reminder of how Samantha lived. She believes with all her heart that this is what Samantha would prefer for each of us. I know she is right.

How could I say no? Gail chose for us to begin this new tradition with a para-sail excursion over the Atlantic Ocean. Our adventure began with travel out to the para-sailing boat by way of a Banana Boat ride through the crashing surf far off the coast line. It was good that I did not know in advance how thrilling this was actually going to be. As we paused briefly in the ocean near our destination after lots of screams of delight and terror along the way our smug, brawny Banana Boat Captain (pulling us from a Jet Ski) mentioned that on hot days the sharks like to find shade under the Banana boats. This was not funny. There was still time for mishap before boarding our para-sailing boat landing. And of course – there was the anticipated return trip by Banana Boat back to shore. Our Captain seemed to find great amusement in vamping up the peril for us. He knew that during our para-sail ride we would be dipped into the ocean from the air. His strategy certainly added to the excitement as we were flying high above the ocean and watched the ocean move rapidly closer just before we collided into the waves (where the sharks live) and then lifted again into the sky before landing back safely on the boat. A thrill for sure – every step of the way.

Sarah is very afraid of heights. I am only just learning to overcome that fear… as you know…. (http://yourpathmatters.com/un-zip-your-courage/). Sarah was not fired up about her Mom’s choice of adventure but never once wavered in accepting the risk. The professional photographer aboard was amused by what he captured on film which revealed our emotions of glee, laughter, fear, love and courage in his series of shots. He had no idea all that he really captured in a few rapid clicks.

We risked everything that day. We risked letting go of some of the deep sadness in our hearts in exchange for joy. We risked releasing some of our grief to really live in the ways we are meant to experience life. We risked letting go of fear of the unknown for a new adventure that will never be forgotten. Just as those we love and lose… they will never be forgotten. They will always live in our heart and soul. I am grateful for the opportunity to live in a way that honors Samantha in joy, courage, growing wisdom, faith and love… as I make choices to risk.

What choices have you made to risk so that you really live life? What choices do you plan to make to risk forward?

I’d love to hear about it to cheer you on!

Please comment here or go to my Blog at www.YourPathMatters.com and subscribe. Thank you for reading “Risking to Really Live!”