At the end of each summer season, we witness thunderstorms, tarantula mating, and the shift from full-speed guiding and outfitting to a more casual pace. It’s also the time when ZAC staff members and many other folks around Springdale make decisions about where they will live and work next year. At Zion Adventure Company, it can be challenging and emotional to consider what our community will look like in the upcoming year… How will we cope with the loss of key Adventure Team Members and what new characters will join our ranks in 2012?
For my own part, I have great difficulty predicting where I’ll be in the future. I find it hard enough to envision where I will be during the coming weekend, let alone the next calendar year. Perhaps it’s in my nature to create situations in which I must embrace the last-second developments and allow my situation to direct me one way or another; it seems to have worked for me thus far. Yet now, once again, I struggle with the question, “Where will I be next year?” And short of banging my head against a wall, I have battled with influences that pull me in many directions.
In the midst of this, I heard the question yet again from a co-worker, “Are you coming back next season?” My response was somewhat stale: “I feel like it is time to move on. I don’t know though. I have so many people and things I love in Zion, but at the same time I wonder about what opportunities I may be passing if I don’t pursue something different.”
I was not being very thoughtful or attaching too much emotion to my response, but the reply I received has echoed through my mind for weeks: ”Are you making the decision from a place of love or a place of fear?”
The answer has big implications, not just in what I will do next season, but in every decision I make, from choosing a life partner to deciding what underwear to put on in the morning. In the context of my annual life crisis, trying to decide what I will be doing in six months, I first tried to maneuver around the question. I can rearrange things quite easily: Is the impetus fear of missing out, or is it love for exploration? Am I afraid of stagnating, or do I love being transient? In general, I believe that our first thought or reaction is the most honest, and best way to explore this idea. If I hold myself accountable and take my immediate response, I do not want to live guided by fear. It does not make sense to leave the people I love, to look elsewhere for the intimacy I have already established, and abandon the community that has given me so much. How could I make my home in a place that didn’t give me such energy to pursue my passion every day?
This dilemma has been knocking around in the back of my head, and thinking about my relationship with love and fear helped me to isolate the more important details of my situation. I found a lot of clarity while on vacation in Colorado and Eastern Utah this past week. Once again, the right path revealed itself when I got out of my head and allowed my heart to guide me. I found great peace in the experience of new landscapes and adventures. I was moved by the power of love, celebrating the marriage of two amazing individuals, and spending time with a woman who does not shy away from asking difficult questions and offering honest, heartfelt reflections.
At the end of my journey across Utah and arriving at the end of my indecision, it feels right to stay in Zion. I want to celebrate another year with the people I love, and to share this amazing place with friends I have not yet met. I am putting my trust in love, wherever it may take me.