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Our most dangerous place

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After 18 months on the road we’ve discovered what we believe is our most dangerous place!

We’ve travelled many roads, climbed, swam, fished, trekked, worked, played, stayed in secluded places and met all kinds of people and not once did we feel we were in danger.

You see, our most dangerous place isn’t a physical, geographical location yet it’s a place that’s always just around the corner from wherever we are. Even though this terrible place can’t be visited physically it’s a place as dangerous as any war zone, any pirate ridden
coastline or the narrow goats track on the side of a sheer mountain cliff.

It’s a destroyer of all that makes life exciting and worthwhile, a robber of creativity and a killer of imagination.

It forces us to become old long before the years have worn us out. For some people it causes them to become old while still very young in years.

To enter this dangerous place is to walk through a door that can close tightly on dreams, hopes and desires.

It has a deceptive front garden. Pretty and attractive the garden invites and beckons entry but the real danger lies within the walls.
Once inside a lullaby begins to play calming our free spirited approach to life and leading us into a sense of safety and security. Unless recognised and forced to cease, this hypnotic rhythm overpowers our desire to explore the possibilities of life and to reach for that which is out of the reach of the majority. It causes us to look at every reason why we should NOT live an unconventional but exciting life outside of what most of society regards as “normal”.

This place has a name. It’s called – THE RUT!

It’s very easy for us to start to walk up The Rut’s luring garden path toward that door from which we know is so hard to come back through after entering.

All it takes is a short time of regular routine and a “settling in” at wherever we are.

The Rut knows no particular location. We’ve almost walked into it at Armidale, The Sunshine Coast, Koramba, Brisbane, Melbourne, Horsham and a number of other places.
The longer we stay in the same place the more we find ourselves edging little by little up The Rut’s pathway.

Another name The Rut goes by is “The Comfort Zone”.

For us The Rut and The Comfort Zone are one and the same place.

Thank The Lord that we’ve learned to recognise the lure of the lullaby of this place and we now know the signs that indicate when we are about to walk through that door.

You see, the moment we turn our back on The Rut a new dimension of life unfolds.

It’s a dimension that refuses to accept society’s pre written script for life. It’s recognition that the ability to dream, to invent, to learn, to
experience the non ordinary and to explore is a great and precious gift. It’s a gift to be guarded lest we be fooled into tossing it aside and regarding it as worthless and as a result living a life that’s mundane and ordinary, never reaching for anything outside the bounds of safety and comfort. We become fearful of the new and the different.

The Rut’s main danger for us is not in its lack of contentment, there IS a degree of contentment and satisfaction in it. That’s what makes its danger so subtle. For us, there’s a certain relaxation in just existing each day without “driving” life to where we want it to go.

The Rut

“The Rut” is very aptly named because just like the road condition of the same name, once the wheels of life are in the rut it’s a fight to get them out – the deeper the rut, the harder the fight. We just need to drive and the rut will navigate us on its own course – except it won’t be a course with a destination of OUR choosing. We can just place life on automatic pilot. We don’t need to DO or to THINK much at all, just go through each day in a sort of anaesthesia induced, cruise controlled daze.

We’re fooled into thinking that we just need to maintain the status quo, just do what we’ve always done. Trouble is maintaining the status quo is simply not enough for us. It’s like a salmon swimming up a rapidly flowing stream. Exerting just enough effort to maintain it in the same spot
will ensure it eventually gets washed back down the stream. It must constantly exert effort into going forward or it will go backwards.

In The Rut we stop thinking things out to deeper levels. We accept the mainstream point of view or just about any point of view because we
become too lazy or disinterested to look deeper ourselves. We become almost Zombified in a place where we don’t need to stretch our mind or our bodys.

We lose Simplicity. We get so busy with many minor distractions like learning to work the latest technological thing or the distractions of modern shopping centres or what passes today for entertainment, or the many other complexities that seem to call for our attention. We’re constantly flitting here and flitting there.

Yes, The Rut is a busy place, almost as if its designed to keep us so busy with inconsequential stuff that we never have time to concentrate on the things that are meaningful and fulfilling. We lose the ability to recognise the days flying by inexorably toward life’s end while we fiddle with insignificant tripe.

Media doesn’t help. We’re bombarded with advertising from every angle and most of it tells us we need to relax, slow down, and live like the people, places and situations that the ads portray. In one of its most dangerous forms the advertising relentlessly hammers the personal safety theme. It drives us to believe that our safety is someone else’s responsibility. “Don’t think about our own safety because the Government or the employer or someone else will take care of it for us”.

Likewise the future is touted as being someone else’s responsibility. Don’t think about the future because some superannuation fund or government body has that all under control for us. No need to complicate our life by thinking about it ourselves. And don’t ever think about our lives eventually ending and the wasted opportunities that we failed to take advantage of becasue of fear of the unknown. Understanding our mortality and the fleeting breath of time that we’re in this earthly realm forces us to turn our backs on the safe and comfortable and stops us becoming what the world wants us to be – A CONSUMER that behaves according to a pre prescribed lifestyle until the day we die.

In The Rut we begin to add a “What if” into everything we do. “Better not do this because what if that happens”! “We couldn’t possibly do that because this might happen”! We forget the old saying;

 “I’m an old man and have had many worries, most of which have never happened”!

The Rut causes us to enter into the awful state of laziness.
It’s not a physical laziness that prevents the doing of life’s basic tasks well, like looking after our living environment, shopping etc., but a laziness that craves for the comfort of not being required to think or do any more than just what’s needed to exist. It’s a mental, spiritual laziness.

“A person is lazy because he wants serenity and quiet.
Comfort-seeking is the root of laziness. But realize that although the lazy way might at first appear to give comfort, in the long run, a person who is lazy will lose greatness. Why? His life will be one of mediocrity!”

~Rabbi Pliskin

For us the greatest of all the Rut’s dangers, the thing that causes us to reject it with everything inside of us is that it’s a place where we don’t need God!

In The Rut He’s not required to fill in the gap between our own ability and the higher mark of our achievement because there IS no higher achievement. We can do The Rut comfortably by ourselves. There’s no supernatural intervention required. We don’t need to test our Faith; we are comfortably satisfied in knowing that each day will bring pretty much the same as the day before.

But here’s the thing; we lose the wondrous, unmatchable thrill of seeing His hand work in our lives.

When we’re in a place where we know that there’s no way out in our own strength, when we are in a situation that is waaaay beyond our own ability to sort out, we watch Him at work and we are constantly astounded at the results of His guidance.

We never, ever want to lose the sheer pleasure and thrill of living life beyond the mundane routine of The Rut. We must, at all costs, never allow ourselves to waste what few fleeting years we have left on mediocrity and ordinariness.

As we wander Australia and marvel at the colours, the space, the ever changing landscape and the ever visible evidence of the pioneering thinkers and doers who carved great things out of the unforgiving bush, we are so very thankful that we can now recognise and circumvent the alluring melody of the ever beckoning RUT.

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