Adventuring – with Elphaba, Thomas and Brendan

As a child I sung ‘When a knight won his spurs’ that included:

No charger have I, and no sword by my side
Yet still to adventure and battle I ride
Though back into storyland giants have fled
And the knights are no more and the dragons are dead.

As an adult I still liked the image, the challenge of adventuring, doing good things, taking on the world…

Daughter Jo has taken the family to London today to see the West End musical ‘Wicked’. They’ll enjoy the story of Glinda the good witch and Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West. As Elphaba flies on her broomstick she sings ‘Defying Gravity’.:

It’s time to try
Defying gravity
I think I’ll try
Defying gravity
And you can’t pull me down!

Defying Gravity is about defying expectations and breaking free… fulfilling your dreams, attempting the impossible… the adventure of killing the dragon, flying on the broomstick.

As I’ve got older the energy and enthusiasm of adventure has subsided. I still like the idea of it, but I’ve more sympathy with St Thomas Aquinas. 750 years ago this Dominican friar, priest, and philosopher said:

‘Sorrow can be alleviated by good sleep, a bath and a glass of wine.’

… it seems to me that good sleep, a bath and a glass of wine are the answer to more than just sorrow… including energetic and enthusiastic adventuring!

Earlier this week my friend Di introduced me to the Prayer of Saint Brendan:

‘Help me to journey beyond the familiar and into the unknown. Give me the faith to leave old ways and break fresh ground with You. Christ of the mysteries, I trust You to be stronger than each storm within me.

I will trust in the darkness and know that my times, even now, are in Your hand. Tune my spirit to the music of heaven, and somehow, make my obedience count for You.’

I think Brendan sums up my current approach to adventuring…

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