An excerpt from By The River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept by Paulo Coelho:

You have to take risks, he said. We will only understand the miracle of life fully when we allow the unexpected to happen…

Joy is sometimes a blessing, but it is often a conquest. Our magic moment helps us to change and sends us off in search of our dreams. Yes, we are going to suffer, we will have difficult times, and we will experience many disappointments- but all of this is transitory; it leaves no permanent mark. And one day we will look back with pride and faith at the journey we have taken.

Pitiful is the person who is afraid of taking risks. Perhaps this person will never be disappointed or disillusioned; perhaps she won’t suffer the way people do when they have a dream to follow. But when that person looks back- and at some point everyone looks back- she will hear her heart saying, “What have you done with the miracles that God planted in your days? What have you done with the talents God bestowed on you? You buried yourself in a cave because you were fearful of losing those talents. So this is your heritage: the certainty that you wasted your life.”

Pitiful are the people who must realize this. Because when they are finally able to believe in miracles, their life’s magic moments will have already passed them by.

This monologue really stood out to me. Jedd and I were reflecting recently on a conversation we had over a year ago that was really the turning point in our decision to spend a significant amount of time living abroad. I had come to the realization that someday I would look back with regret if our lives were to continue down the same path we were headed and we didn’t take the opportunity to try something different while we had the chance. When I think about our decision to take a “sabbatical,” this monologue resonates with me.

On the other hand, it also feels very convicting. There are so many other ways I avoid risk, and I’m not always satisfied with the way I’m stewarding the time and talents God has given me. Anyway, I just wanted to share this excerpt for reflection and motivation.

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