I used to be afraid of the edges of life.
The questions about faith.
The death and resurrection that is parenthood.
The heartbreak and heartmake of marriage.
They were just so … edgy, you know?
Different and uncomfortable.
And peppered with warning signs telling me to stay well away.
“DANGER: EDGE APPROACHING,” the experts said. “There’s a slippery slope there. Beware! Just listen to us. Follow our lead. And ssshhhhhh… don’t worry your pretty little head about a thing.”
So I listened.
And I stayed away.
And I followed the rules.
And I stayed inside the carefully crafted boundaries.
And I was fine.
But the edge beckoned.
Wild and free.
And pregnant with possibilities. To fall. To fly.
To fail. To soar.
To crash. To collapse. To careen. To collide.
And I knew at the edge there was life and death, raw and hungry, unbridled.
But I was dying anyway, a soul in captivity, away from the edge, and so, full of fear and doubt, I crawled away, leaving behind the rules, the cage, the guarantees, and searching, instead, for bounty. For grace. For beauty. For my place.
I crawled and I walked and I stumbled.
I was bold. And I was afraid.
I was courageous. And I was fragile.
I was in motion. And I was unleashed.
And I was free.
These days, I find myself sitting at the edge, with the experts in their pens behind me, living my life listening to the call of the wild, with my legs dangling, kicking at the cliff to watch the debris fall, and strangely at peace.
Who knew there was peace at the edge?
Peace in coming to the end of myself and to the beginning of the risky life.
Peace in knowing I will fall or fly. Or fall and fly. And fly and fall, up and down on the wind with just the boundaries of earth and space to hem me in.
“You can die out there,” the experts say.
“But, oh,” I reply, “you can also live.”