Weihenmayer – What’s in a Name?

White Shark and Kayak

…Plenty, if the first name is Erik. I admit that for most of us Erik Weihenmayer is not exactly a household name like Elvis Presley or Lewis Grizzard. Erik’s face was on the cover of newspapers and magazines about ten years ago. He became the first man ever to summit Mt. Everest – blind. Even for the best of climbers there is a one in six chance of death when attempting to summit the highest peak in the world. What are the odds when blind? I love to read stories of epic adventures. This morning I finished a book by the title In the Wake of the Jomon: Stone Age Mariners and a Voyage across the Pacific. The author, Jon Turk, retraces this ancient voyage of 3000 miles in a kayak! (I thought circling little and big Tybee Island was tough) Several years ago I read a book about Chris McCandless. The book, Into the Wild, is based on the true-life story of Chris, who, upon graduating Emory, hitchhiked all the way into the bush country of Alaska.  Four months later moose hunters discovered his body.

Some who set their faces towards adventure meet triumphal outcomes and others meet tragedy. When I reflect over my life, about the most adventuresome thing I ever did was con one of my “city friends” from town into thinking you could actually tip over a sleeping cow (contrary to the urban myth, there is no such thing as cow-tipping).  Boy was that cow mad – and fast too!

While I have no plans to hike into the backcountry of Alaska or summit Everest, life should be faced with a sense of adventure. It is God’s world after all, entrusted to us out of God’s good pleasure. How do you approach life? With a sense of mediocrity or joy? Life is filled with opportunities and possibilities. The reality is we have all been given the same 84,600 seconds per day to spend. And one day God will call us up for an accounting. How will we have done with the most important investment of all – our life?

Paul the apostle writes: “See, now is the acceptable time; see, now is the day of salvation!” (2 Corinthians 6:2). It reminds us that we are to be about “seizing the day.” This is not a matter of pursuing the next grand event. It is not simply about living life in a magnanimous and noble way. For most of us, I suspect seizing the day is more about blooming where we are planted and doing ordinary things in extraordinary ways.

A favorite and familiar quote by the late Mother Teresa sums all of this up more succinctly: “We can do no great things, only small things with great love.” That is our mission and adventure as the people of God who gather as a church.

An adventure awaits!


Grace and peace,

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