Pictured here is a time when my eldest son was in para-rescue training. He had to really work off his fear of heights. Falling from 13,000 ft. is a true test, but he told me it was the most exhilarating and even peaceful of experiences.
An article from National Geographic magazine tells the thrill of Free – Solo rock climbing. Just click over to this photo. I get queazy just looking at it – I’m “feeling” the guy is going to lose his grip and…. Hey, it’s just-a-picture! Yet, there he is – frozen in time – for my mind to work overtime. (click here for a short climbing video)
Why, and how do people even do this sort of thing??
A slightly less extreme adventure, but certainly a pushing-the-limits experience, a couple from our Silver Cord group, experienced their own “National Geographic Adventure.”
Along for a ride, they journeyed up winding roads to a remote village, nomadic in nature. Upon arrival, they were warmly greeted with yak milk tea and directions to the “toilet” area – just anywhere along the back fence, thank you very much (to which they managed to avoid). An animal carcass hung in the middle of the living area. Food was prepared – well – to less than western standards – and, you get the idea. The hosts were gracious and delighted to greet these western foreigners Yet, my friend wrote to me, “Glad it was us and not you!”
How did she know?
“The thrill of victory…and the agony of defeat.”
What makes people able to push the limits? How is it there are those who go to the extreme…for the thrill… while others are content to play it more safe? We have at one time or another known the “high” of victory – the mountain-top exhilaration of completing the goal. We also know with any risk there’s the harsh reality for failure. And who likes failure? In the extreme shown above, it’s certain death. Or, sometimes it’s hanging our head in shame of embarrassment...the agony of defeat.
I learned there’s this curious thing built into our physical chemistry – dopa-mine.
Dopa-mine is that natural built-in drug that drives us to explore those new things – pushing us to – well – experience those National Geographic moments. The more “dope” we have, the more we want to risk. Yet, each of us have different levels of this chemical, so our sense of risk will be expressed uniquely.
Incidentally, adrenaline is quite another thing and can be confused with dopa-mine. Adrenaline kicks in when there is danger, that “fight or flight” reaction. It’s the exhilaration we feel after a danger has passed, or the thrill when watching a scary movie.
Isn’t science wonderful? I just love that it explains our Creator God! Or, is it more how God explains science?
This actually got me to thinking of those simple first few words in the Matthew 28 section of the Bible where Jesus exhorts his disciples to “Go.” In that going, he’s actually saying to go beyond the comforts. To go beyond the familiar. To risk – what? – for the Name of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Spirit of God – compelling each one of us to respond, equipped – uniquely and creatively. Some toward cultures in remote areas around the globe, others to the hurting within our own city streets. Whatever it is, we have a drive compelling us to “go” because our spiritual dopa-mine, the Holy Spirit, compels us to.
Science has it almost figured out.
How are you experiencing the Spirit driven dopa-mine in your response to Matthew 28?
And Jesus came and said to them,
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”