Call to Adventure
In Joseph Campbell’s book, The Hero with a Thousand Faces, he notes that “The Hero’s Journey” is open to everyone, and is the ritualized process that involves separation from the known, comfortable world; initiation into the unknown; and, return. The first step in this process is the Call to Adventure, which “signifies that destiny has summoned the hero.” However, it must be emphasized that the person summoned is only a potential hero, as the destiny of heroism has yet to be actualized.
Whether the “Call to Adventure” comes from something good or bad, it signals to each of us that an opportunity has opened up for us: to move from the common-day and comfortable known into the risky world of the unknown. Many will decide to refuse the call, thinking the risk is too great; but by avoiding the challenges that could result in virtue and honor, they find neither. Perhaps some think that violent or anti-social rebellion is heroic; or, others only imagine themselves as heroes—and become another Walter Mitty.
Some, however, answer the call; and whether they do so haltingly or boldly, their step is the first of many that will give them purpose, help them flourish and bring them to fulfillment. In all likelihood each will need the guidance and wisdom of those who have traveled far along their journey, to help us move completely away from our comfort zones and fully into the unknown. The prospects of what we will face after entering into our mysterious path can be daunting, and even scary. When we come upon those challenges, their burden can drive us to our knees.
And when we feel overwhelmed by those experiences, we can make the free will choice to move our hands toward each other in prayer for the "Supernatural Aid" described by Campbell. That aid encourages us; instills in us the courage we need in order to continue on...
So as we move through and beyond “The Road of Trials,” we realize that we have passed the tests. For they, and our conquest of them, give us what Campbell describes as “momentary glimpses into the wonderful land to help propel him (us) onward.” I wanted to share with Kevin some of my past trials, to teach him how well—or how poorly—I had performed during them, so that he could learn from me.
Because of the inherent potential for heroism that life gives us, of many kinds, the life you know is often not better than the one you could know—no matter how comfortable you are.
Where will the rider in this image (my son, Kevin) take himself, and how well will he travel throughout his journey?”
Those are questions for every person.
These questions are also posed to my daughter Maureen, to me and to all of us, because we live in time and because time never stands still. Life asks those questions of each of us, and our destination--our destiny--forces us to answer them. We must decide, and therefore cannot be agnostic--about anything. We fool ourselves into thinking that "no decision" is not a decision. If we have faith in ourselves and in the truth of the Creator who made us, we can actualize our potential heroism, overcome life's obstacles and take the most important leg of our journey: "The Return" in order to help others complete their journey.