And so back to our discussion on adventure. I have met few people who do not desire to have an adventure of their own. And while most of us live ordinary lives within a few miles of our regular circles, there are those that manage to break out every once in a while and actually embark on one. They can be disasters or delights, depending on the personality. Either way, true adventure (either good or bad, for there are both kinds) changes you, and you walk away with something of value, no matter which kind it is.
One of my favorite passtimes is browsing through Gutenberg looking for personal experiences of just those types of adventures. You find them in the oddest places. And along with such accounts, there are always gems. Life secrets that you can take away and use for your own if ever the need comes up. I think I just might share one of these every Friday, starting with this one here, which takes place after a harrowing journey through war-torn Europe that would have killed most of the rest of us. Here it is:
"I was at last about to arrive at my goal, and was in a state of wild excitement at the idea of seeing once more all my beloved ones. I should have liked to have gone to sleep. My eyes, which had grown larger with anxiety, traveled through space more rapidly than the train went. I fumed each time it stopped, and envied the birds I saw flying along. I laughed with delight as I thought of the surprised faces of those I was going to see again, and then I began to tremble with anxiety.
What had happened to them, and should I find them all? I should if—ah, those "ifs," those "becauses," and those "buts"! My mind became full of them, they bristled with illnesses and accidents, and I began to weep. My poor little traveling companion began to weep too. Finally we came within sight of Homburg. Twenty more minutes of this turning of wheels and we should enter the station. But just as though all the sprites and devils from the infernal regions had concerted to torture my patience, we stopped short. All heads were out of the windows. "What is it?" "What's the matter?" "Why are we not going on?" There was a train in front of us at a standstill, with a broken brake, and the line had to be cleared.
I fell back on my seat, clenching my teeth and hands, and looking up in the air to distinguish the evil spirits which were so bent on tormenting me, and then I resolutely closed my eyes. I muttered some invectives against the invisible sprites, and declared that, as I would not suffer any more, I was now going to sleep. I then fell fast asleep, for the power of sleeping when I wish is a precious gift which God has bestowed on me.
In the most frightful circumstances and the most cruel moments of life, when I have felt that my reason was giving way under shocks that have been too great or too painful, my will has laid hold of my reason, just as one holds a bad-tempered little dog that wants to bite, and, subjugating it, my will has said to my reason: "Enough. You can take up again to-morrow your suffering and your plans, your anxiety, your sorrow and your anguish. You have had enough for to-day. You would give way altogether under the weight of so many troubles, and you would drag me along with you. I will not have it! We will forget everything for so many hours and go to sleep together!" And I have gone to sleep. This, I swear to.
Miss Soubise roused me as soon as the train entered the station. I was refreshed and calmer. A minute later we were in a carriage and had given the address, 7 Ober Strasse. We were soon there, and I found all my adored ones, big and little, and they were all very well. Oh, what happiness it was! The blood pulsed in all my arteries. I had suffered so much that I burst out into delicious laughter and sobs.
Who can ever describe the infinite pleasure of tears of joy! During the next two days the maddest things occurred, which I will not relate, so incredible would they sound. Among others, fire broke out in the house; we had to escape in our night clothes and camp out for six hours in five feet of snow, &c. &c."…
These words were penned by Sarah Bernhardt, better known as "the most famous actress the world has ever known." Yet, here are a few of her own thoughts from the deepest recesses of her very own humanity. She craved adventure from a young age, and in her pursuit of it… usually found herself walking head and shoulders above most everyone else around her.
What an incredible thought that is! I have now put it on my "to do" list to read the rest of this amazing lady's memoirs, to see what else I can learn from her. Which convinces me, dear reader, that there is so much more available to us in this life than first meets the eye!
And now to work before a lovely weekend and a bit of rest…