Exhilarate- means to enliven, invigorate, stimulate, make merry or cheerful. I wonder what it’s like to ride along the wild currents of a river filled with twists and turns and ups and downs that would, truthfully, take my breath away- for real- and I would die. I think of extreme sports like bungee jumping, sky diving, or hang gliding that I am also convinced I would die doing. I watch the Olympics and see down hill skiing, figure skating, cross country horseback riding, etc. Such thrilling activities that would be ‘exhilarating.’ In the end, all I do includes sledding on small hills in the neighborhood in the winter time. Pathetic really.
When I was a young girl, I read books about horses – the Black Stallion series by Walter Farley were my favorite. I am sure reading books allows most of us to enjoy experiences we will never actually participate in. As for the horses, I actually did ride and jump and race across fields at full speed on those gorgeous creatures I have always loved. I can say, there is nothing like the real thing. Don’t get me wrong, reading is and has been lovely, but really riding has made my life terrific.
My favorite author is CS Lewis. In the movie made of him and his soon-to-be wife, Joy Gresham, there were conversations about real experience v. reading about experiences. She felt personal experience trumped reading. He asked her if reading was a waste? She thought about it and said, “No,” however, she still felt if one had to choose, real experience was more valuable than just reading about experiences of others.
That being said, I know I will never run an army mission into enemy territory, so reading someone’s account of their experience helps me enjoy the memory and times experienced. I also do not think I will visit Paris or Vienna, but enjoy reading about them and dreaming of maybe visiting one day. So, I like to do things, but also like to read about things I find interesting.
I feel that friendship is something enjoyed more in real experience than to read about famous friendships like Gayle Sayers and Brian Piccolo. Their stories inspire me to be a better friend, but I treasure the friends and relationships I enjoy. I have the greatest friends and family that have been there for the good days and the difficult days, celebrated the wins and cried with me in the losses. They talk when I need someone to listen and I find it is wonderful to be a friend to them also. I can talk about my friends all day long, but until you meet them, they will still be strangers to you.
The Bible talks about real experience as well. In 1 John 1:1-2, it tells us ‘….(the followers of Jesus) are writing about the Word of Life – in Him Who existed from the beginning, Whom we have heard, Whom we have seen with our own eyes, Whom we have gazed upon for ourselves and have touched with our own hands. And the Life -an aspect of His being- was revealed (made manifest, demonstrated), and we saw [as eyewitnesses] and are testifying to and declare to you the Life, the eternal Life in Him Who already existed with the Father and Who [actually] was made visible (was revealed) to us – His followers….’
The most exhilarating experience I have ever had is knowing the Living God. I can share experiences over and over and, the truth is, He wants all of us to have personal experience with how exhilarating He is. He is real, He is waiting, and He wants to show each of us how Great and Wonderful He truly is.
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