The Audacity of Reaching

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At the onset of this year, many of us were discussing our “One Little Word” themes to steer our course through 2015. A group of us decided to collaborate further by blogging each week, reflecting on the message carried by the terms we had selected.

My friend Margaret Simon chose the word “Reach” to guide her through this year.

Reach.

A simple little word, yet one that requires vulnerability. The recognition that I am not yet complete. I haven’t yet accomplished my dreams. I have not fully realized my potential.

Reach implies discontent. I don’t reach for what I already have, but for what I long for. What I want. To reach is to admit I am not fully whole.

Reach also requires courage. It requires risk, because my reach may not extend far enough. I may strain, and persist, and yet come up empty. I may reach, only to find the rewards that I strive for have already been claimed by others.

I may fail.

To reach, demands audacity.
Chutzpah.
Cojones.

To reach, is to claim life.
To celebrate this great journey.

When I’m reaching, I’m living.
Zealous.
On the precipice.
Stretching.
Striving.

When I’m stagnant,
I’m stationary,
and stale.

The story of our faith is written by audacious men and women.
It is written by those who reach.

Abraham, willing to set his son on the altar.
Moses, timid and faint, boldly leading the masses from Egypt.
Esther, setting her crown aside “for such a time as this”.
Jonathan and his bold armor-bearer, who scaled the enemy fortress with no assurance of victory.
Impetuous Peter, who walked out on the water.

Martin Luther King Jr., who knew he may not get to the promised land, but assured us that we would see the day when people would be valued by the content of their character rather than the color of their skin.

Eleanor Roosevelt, who reminded us to intentionally walk into our fears, challenging us to “do the thing we think we cannot do”.

These were audacious men and women. They embraced a life that reaches.

These are the type of people I crave in my life. I search for them to push me as a husband, father, teacher, and friend. I look for them to push me as a runner; as a writer; and as a learner. I search for them in scripture; in books; in the news, and in my social circles.

And I look for him in the mirror.

One of my 2015 goals is to ignite others. To spur them on, through encouragement, modeling, and sometimes a friendly nudge. But I also have to ignite myself.

I need to reach.

I need look in the mirror to push myself; to honor the gifts and talents I’ve been given; and make sure I am giving my best.

I look, because I want to embrace my own reach.

“Dream no small dreams. They have no power to stir the hearts of men.”
― Victor Hugo

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8 thoughts on “The Audacity of Reaching

  1. Greg, love these words from your reflection:
    ” To reach, is to claim life.
    To celebrate this great journey.
    When I’m reaching, I’m living.”
    I can’t wait to share your words with a friend who chose strive as her OLW. Finally, thanks for reminding us of courageous men and women who reached, worthy examples to follow.

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  2. This made me laugh:
    “To reach, demands audacity.
    Chutzpah.
    Cojones.”
    It’s so true, though. Reaching makes us uncomfortable and stressed sometimes. But without audacity, chutzpah, and cojones, life could get pretty uninspiring awfully fast. We are meant to be so much more than stagnant, stationary, and stale! Like Margaret, after I read your posts, I often wish I had written them! 😉

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    • I must admit, I was hesitant adding the “cojones” comment, especially on a “spiritual journey” post! I didn’t want to offend anyone, but it seemed to fit perfectly.

      Thank you for the kind words. I’m humbled by your compliment.

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  3. This is so wonderful. I wish I had written it. I want to make a poster of this part, “When I’m reaching, I’m living.
    Zealous.
    On the precipice.
    Stretching.
    Striving.”

    I’m living. I am striving to be the best I can be. “Whatever you do, do it well.”
    Thanks!

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    • Margaret,

      Thank you for your kind words. How very humbling! Thank you also, for sharing your word with us. I really enjoyed reflecting on how our faith history is written by women and men who “reach”.

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  4. Greg, this is a powerful post that allows me to ponder reach in so many ways, one of which is the vulnerable me. Am I living on the precipice stretching enough? I like to think that I am claiming life but sometimes it feels as though it is claiming (consuming me). Reaching for possibilities is a quest to listen in the stillness so that I can ascend one more step. Thank you for your perspective that is having me reach deeper into my soul.

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    • Carol, thank you for the kind words. I agree, that reach can take us in so many directions, internally and externally. I also appreciate your point that sometimes I need to be at rest, making sure my reach comes from an internal peace, complete in Him.

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