The Call to Adventure

The blog is written by Sameer Abraham Thomas. The Author is a Faculty Associate, Centre for Writing & Pedagogy at Krea University.

21 July 2020: I got up earlier than usual today. The sound of rain woke me up at half past six in the morning – or perhaps it was the cessation of the sound; my father told me it had started raining earlier and had abated a little by 6:30.

Waking up in the dark, some pale light shining through the one window in my room, I listened to the soft drumming of raindrops on some roof somewhere, possibly ours, as if it were an alarm, rousing me from my slumber and calling me to adventure.

It seems to me as I write this that every morning is a call to adventure in some ways. What is it that gets us out of our beds? An alarm, perhaps – some sudden sound; or perhaps the cessation or change of some white noise that had lulled us to sleep at night, or that had slipped seamlessly into our ears at some point after we had nodded off and only just now felt the impetus to leave.

Sometimes, we wake up because someone is calling us, and the reason they want us awake and not asleep is our call to adventure. Sometimes we ignore the call and stay in bed. Adventure calls to minds that are not ready to hearken to that call. They are not yet ready. But one day…

I remember long periods of time when my mind wasn’t ready. It was either too busy making itself anxious or curling up in a defensive ball, paralyzing me to protect me from the dangers posed by any and every adventure, no matter how small. Those were not happy days, but maybe they were necessary at the time. Shields do protect us, but they wear down over time, unless withdrawn to make way for a sudden spear. And a worn-out shield can protect you no more than can a mind, tired of defending itself against itself.

The shield falls and then there is nothing left to insulate ourselves from the call, but now we are too exhausted from the battering of our shields to be able to respond. We lie in bed and listen to the call resound like some song at a festival we know we might love but which we are terrified of losing ourselves in. It takes time and courage to realize that perhaps joy lies in letting ourselves get lost; the challenge of facing the unknown, the challenge of choosing the right path, the challenge of fighting the world and not ourselves, and then the challenge of finding our way home – perhaps it was this that our minds were preparing themselves for all along. It took time, but finally they were ready, and then they fell before us, the clang of the fallen shield beginning yet another call to adventure as the spear finally finds itself in our hands. The call to adventure – we didn’t recognize it then. But, if we persist… today, we might.