Thursday, June 9, 2011
When last did you steal second base?
I think I've shared this quote before:
"You can't steal second base and keep your foot on first base" - Frederick B. Wilcox
At several points in my life, this has been my reality.
In my childhood I was soo timid that someone always had to push me off 1st base.
Take for example, Primary 4 - when my class teacher made me Class Prefect much to my horror. Never in a million years would I have raised my hand to respond to the call for interested Prefects. And for good reason. Even as a 9 year old I was quite self aware and knew that I just wasn't cut out for making enemies.
Me? Prefect? So that they'll be waiting for me in the bushes during break time because I'd written their names on the noise makers list? No thank you.
After 2 weeks, and only 2 names showed up on my noisemakers list, my class teacher impeached me without a fuss and found herself a more fearless leader. I was crushed but definitely more relieved to be relieved of my position.
Another first to second base incidence occurred several years later in secondary school. Once again, a teacher nominated me to become a Prefect -- again to my horror. This time, I couldn't worm my way out. She preached to me about how her mind was made up and how she felt I was up to the task.
And much to my surprise, I had a fantastic year in that role and learned a bit about my abilities, skills and talents.
About 4 years ago, I stood on first base again in a whole different ball game. I was a year out of college. But I was afraid to move because I didn't want to strike out on my way to second base. But time was running out. My student status was about to expire and I had to make a decision. And with the clock ticking loudly in my ear, I was once again pushed to make a run for it. So I did. I ran for second base without looking back.
Clinging to security is our natural instinct. Holding on to the bird in our hand while we look for two more in the bushes conventional wisdom.
But sooner or later, always sticking to conventional wisdom will lead to a conventional, boring life.
A life where "what-ifs" are neatly tucked away in the "later" folder. A life where if one doesn't seize the opportunities presented by transition, threats or tribulation, the "later" folder eventually becomes the "it's too late" folder.
And it's not just for the big things. It's also for the seemingly little things: Trying a new hairdresser, taking a different traffic route, saying 'hi' to an uninteresting stranger. Leaving first base to cleave to second.
I've noticed that some of my best gifts in life have come when I let go and just - hang mid air. Many times I've been pushed over the cliff by someone else. At other times, I don't see, yet discomfort or dissatisfaction cause me to leap because I know there just has to be a better place.
And most times, there has truly been a better place.
"The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places, surely I have a delightful inheritance" - Psalm 16