WHEN one thinks of an adventure, how one at once thinks of a journey, a setting out to get to the end of something.
Do we come upon adventures sitting still? I hardly think so, the mere fact of the adventure having arrived shows that we, or circumstances, or environment have changed.
The adventure of a small child tumbling across the floor, for the first time able to stand erect, what an event! What a change for that small person. Life in its small compass, never again the same. A child who first braves the dark, essays the unknown; another step in life, another small adventure.
Through life it almost seems, as if we gathered adventures as we move. Do we seek them? or, do they seek us? I think they come to those who see. How many find adventures, wonderful happenings that strike thrills through all the heart and soul.
Some natures go through life blankly, everyday round, everyday speech, everyday thinkings, and miss the adventure that others, in their place find ready for their opportunity: for their delight or for their discomfiture. Adventures come to those who seek, there is no doubt of that, but they can be found nigh at hand. No need to travel far, or to make more than perhaps half a day's journey to come upon the most wonderful, the most gracious happenings, that can make humble life adventurous.
Adventure lives within us, not outside: we cannot gather the outside world, outside people, outside thoughts, into our adventures: but first it must be ours, our own way that we are travelling, our own stand in the battle of life, or our own fight for others' good. Then, as we have open hearts, open eyes, open ears, do we find adventure in the lives of other folk.
Nothing venture, nothing win, is the old, old proverb, and well adapted for the shrinking soul, as for the most adventurous.
Love is a great adventure, to the few who possess the spirit of adventure, just as all life is a great adventure to those who are brave and courageous.
There is a courteousness in the adventure of love that makes it a bit of the old chivalry of the Middle Ages. Brings back thoughts and hopes and ways that before this adventure was adventured, had faded out of a grown man's life, since the early affectionate adventure of his childhood. Love strong as death and as sweet, that lifts a man up to the highest heights of his being to adventure dangers and poverty, or wealth joy, or sadness: or the greatest of all adventures for love, to lay down one's life for one's friend. Yes: here we have arrived at the greatest adventure of all, the adventure of Death.
Death; not the mere act of dying but the whole that begins then, and comes after, is in that word.
The Adventure of Death, not lightly to be undertaken, not without full armour, not without great courage, great strength, or a profound weakness. Weakness, that on the impulse given to all in a moment of wild self-sacrifice, plunges heedless of life, except as the way of adventure, into the Adventure of Death.
Strong men stretch out their hands sending their hearts before them, to prepare the way. They make all the adventure of life subordinate to the great last adventure when they take the great step into the unknown. Not so unknown after all, as all that has gone before prepares for what is to come.
Some shrink from the great momentous step just as they have shrunk from many a chance to attain, forgetting that to-day is only the beginning of the adventure of to-morrow. Will not the way of the adventure of Death be just the same as an army fully equipped, fully provided, awaits the moment of battle, when ready at command, time finished, comes the Adventure of Death.
We do not speak now of the adventure as accomplished. As we know not to-morrow's bringing, we cannot know the to-morrow of Death. So far we know, that as to-morrow we may wake to fresh adventure here, so there, we know we wake to carry on that great adventure. It is a strange way, the way of the unknown. An unknown world, a place with something ineffable for every adventurous soul, with the certainty that all will be satisfied, that the adventure will be carried through to its uttermost end; an end that lies not in the hands of the adventurer, but in the hands of the Great Commander himself, who stretches out hands to those who cross the great gulf and who helps those trembling ones, with clear courageous brow, to essay the great Adventure of Eternity.