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July 26, 2020

A sense of adventure was instilled in me when I was young. My parents, brother and I went camping all over Wisconsin. I also travelled with my grandparents all over Wisconsin, picking all kinds of berries, fishing, seeing the sights. My wife, daughter and I recently went to one of the sites, a place they had not been to: the Wisconsin Concrete Park, just south of Phillips, Wisconsin. A unique history about northern Wisconsin. It brought tears as I remember going there with my grandparents. Then another Grandpa told me about fighting overseas and the places he had seen and the traveling my grandparents had done after retiring. The spirit of adventure in me had been planted…
“Bilbo lived in Hobbiton, where many years earlier his father, Bungo Baggins, had married the celebrated Belladonna Took. Now, the Tooks were a large clan of hobbits to the south in Green Hill country. (Took rhymes with kook, by the way.) The Bagginses were considerably more practical, predictable, and respectable than the Green Hill folk—after all, several Tooks had gone off on wild adventures. The Tooks were natural leaders among the hobbits. Tooks were “somewhat bolder and more adventurous” than the average Shire-folk. They were known for their daring deeds.
In the beginning of this story, the Baggins side of Bilbo’s nature dominated, almost smothering his Tookish side. Many of us are Baggins-minded as well. We’re down-to-earth and rational. Oh, to be sure, we have our dreams—and every once in a while, we stoke their glowing coals in our imagination. But we’re either too “sensible” to follow the dream, or hard experience has sent us, chastised, back to the safe confines of a daily routine. We fulfill our desire for adventure by riding a motorcycle on the weekends or renting an action movie on a Friday night. And so our larger dreams go unfulfilled. That’s what happened to Bilbo. His idealism had, over the years, been displaced by a more practical nature. Deep down, Bilbo still longed to see the wide world, to venture beyond the tame edges of his homeland—but he had settled down. He now fulfilled his youthful longings by taking extended walks around the Shire. Marking his favorite paths in red ink on his wall map, Bilbo took those same walks again and again. The dream had been replaced by a comfortable and quite manageable daydream.
For most of us—hobbit or modern humans—it’s easier to be adventuresome when we’re “young and foolish.” Adventure is practically built into our young bodies. But, as we age, we desire more security. This is particularly true if we marry and have children. Suddenly our carefree, risk-taking lifestyle seems out of place. Backpacking through Europe is no longer a viable option, so we get a “solid job.” We settle down into predictable schedules. And that’s all fine and necessary…as long as we don’t sink into immobility and completely lose our edge.
It’s great to enjoy an action movie on Friday night—and if you get a thrill from roaring down the highway on a motorbike, go for it. But these “adventures” fall well within our comfort zones. We’re more likely to avoid those chaotic experiences, where things happen unexpectedly, and events are beyond our control. Those things that disrupt our stable plans or derail our set schedules are not quite welcome. The tough road ahead would require a stalwart soul who’d stay the course after the novelty wore off and the tedium set in. Like Bilbo, we have a deep and genuine need for security. But we can’t do without change, or we’ll simply stagnate. If we never expand our horizons, we’ll settle into deep mental ruts—maybe permanently. We need both security and a sense of adventure.
Jesus warned that those who followed Him needed to be committed. “No one,” He said, “having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:62). He also cautioned regarding “those who hear the message and immediately receive it with joy. But since they don’t have deep roots, they don’t last long. They fall away as soon as they have problems or are persecuted for believing God’s word” (Mark 4:16-17). (Ed Strauss, A Hobbit Devotional)
We can still have adventures! In fact, we are on an adventure that none of us have been through before. Yes, this pandemic has disrupted our stable plans and/or has derailed our set schedules and we have not welcomed it. But that does not mean we have to give up or stagnate. Keep dreaming! Keep living! Be adventurous! Let’s plan to last. Let’s be committed to persevering in our Christian walk—in fact, to any venture to which we’re called. God bless and God’s got this!

About Rev. Bud Budzinski

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