All serious daring
“A sheltered life can be a daring life as well. For all serious daring starts from within.”
— Eudora Welty
By most standards, I have lived a very sheltered life. I don’t regret it. I’ve had a lot of interesting experiences, traveled widely and read extensively, but I also have had the luxury of being spared exposure to the sordid, violent or sleazy. I’ve known people who find such things fascinating (“I love squalor,” a college friend once explained to me earnestly, without a trace of irony) but I’ve never been one of them. I dislike horror films and graphic descriptions of sex or violence in fiction, and cringe at some of what I encounter in news headlines. Give me a clean, well-lighted place with uplifting books and salubrious beverages and lively, congenial company.
Yet I don’t think many would describe me as timid. As Welty says, a sheltered life does not preclude daring. It takes courage to face the uncertainty of encountering new ideas, people and possibilities. There is a comfort in sameness, and a (mostly false) security in sticking to the known and familiar. Breaking away, even in philosophical exploration, requires an adventurous spirit that may or may not lead to far-flung journeys into space or across continents.
Today, right where you are, you can instill some boldness into your otherwise typical day. In fact, a sheltered life can fortify you for fearless forays into yet-undiscovered paths. Try a new spice or ethnic cuisine, read an author whose work lies totally outside your usual literary taste, or write a forthright, unpretentious note of encouragement to someone you don’t know well– maybe even to someone you have never met. Visit a new (to you) neighborhood, place of worship, library or museum. Show up at an assisted care home, or an animal shelter, or a community group that could use your help. Write a letter to the editor of the local paper, or post a thoughtful, conciliatory comment online to combat the current hatefest.
Then, feel free to pop back over to our Virtual Verandah for a cup of pretend tea and tell us about your adventures. In the cozy world of our sheltered cyber-salon, you’ll almost certainly encounter some serious daring. Everyone is welcome here– especially you.