Throughout history, men have left the warmth of home to light upon untamed lands. Scientists venture into the deep of the sea and the dark of the sky. Architects build bridges raw and powerful, stable on the brink of peril, with just enough room in the balancing act for doubt to make crossing an adventure.
Danger appeals to us.
As children, we typically dream of becoming heroes of a wild breed—mountain climbers and lion tamers—because we want to be brave.
But there are many good men and women we admire who work diligently in humbler jobs to provide security and peace for the ones they love. And as young adults, most of us opt to become one of those tamer heroes— the well-respected professionals—because we find value in dependability.
Safety also appeals to something within us.
Perhaps the desire for danger is a reckless lust indulged only by the irresponsible. Or perhaps it is an important part of our nature that is too often suppressed, only to be lived vicariously through late-night television dramas.
Or maybe life is a little more complex, a little more mysterious than that. Danger and safety, adventure and stability are two desires often at odds with one another. We feel that we have to choose each moment between what is adventurous and what is safe. But rather than choosing one over the other, there is a way to view the two as in a paradoxical relationship.
One of my favorite quotations from G.K Chesterton illustrates the type of relationship I am referring to. He wrote:
If our life is ever to really be as beautiful as a fairy-tale, we shall have to remember that all the beauty of a fairy-tale lies in this: that the prince has a wonder which stops just short of being fear. If he is afraid of the giant, there is an end of him; but also if he is not astonished at the giant, there is an end of the fairy-tale. The whole point depends upon his being at once humble enough to wonder, and haughty enough to defy.