Passion in a Dry River Bed

Advanced Public Speaking with Prof. Dave Weinandy. One of the best classes AQ has to offer, if you’re into that sort of thing. Lucky for me, I am most definitely into that sort of thing and I also just so happen to be taking the class this semester.

Basically, we give speeches every class. Sometimes they are a short planned speech from an assigned topic the week before, sometimes they are impromptu style, and, usually, we do some of both. Last class our assigned topic was “passion/something your passionate about… etc” [Dave’s topics are usually quite conducive to us taking it wherever we want to, none of this rigid academic outline type format.] Anyway, I ended up prepping my speech in a rather last-minute fashion and to help myself organize my own thoughts I typed it out, something I don’t usually do.

But hey, it’s your lucky day! In case you’ve always wondered, and couldn’t tell just by knowing me, you can now read all about one of my passions! [i say one because, really, i like to be passionate about a lot of things. that may sound cliche but honestly, if i really want to or feel compelled to do something, i’ll be passionate about it, and, since i try to fill my life with these things i want to do and am compelled towards doing, i end up being passionate a lot i think…]

**the speech, as typed, fairly close to what i actually said, i think**

The sun is beating down, even in the early morning. It’s gonna be a hot one, we can already tell.

The whole summer has been a hot one, really, but that doesn’t stop us. Our group is two days into our camping trip, and today we’re hittin the trails for a day hike; seven miles there and seven miles back to some scenic outlook point.

We strap on our day packs completely stocked with all the essentials, first aid kit, food, and plenty of water. We start hiking, we’re having a great time, we’re hot, we’re sweaty, we’re eating our snacks and drinking our water. Eventually our water starts to get low. No problem! Included in our supplies are water purifiers and maps showing all the locations where water can be retrieved.

We get to the first hydration point. Dry river bed. hmmm. We keep hiking on to the second hydration point. Dry river bed.

At this point, the situation turns into somewhat of a crisis. People are starting to get dehydrated, we’ve hiked too far to just go back to camp, and the chances of us finding water are apparently mighty slim. Long story short, we end up in the bottom of another dry river bed using our emergency cell phone to call the sheriff, who sends search and rescue, who brings water, which re-hydrates us, which enables us to complete the hike.

To some, that sounds like a day in hell. To me, it sounds like an adventure.

I love the outdoors and I love pushing myself, whether it’s on a hiking adventure, or a run, or biking. I think one of the reasons I love the outdoors so much is that it gives me an arena in which I can not only push myself, but where I can go beyond the physical effort and determination and actually find myself and be the truest version of Alissa Jean Schafer.

Outdoors, I mean *truly* outdoors, not walking-across-a-parking-lot outdoors, being outdoors is one of the times when I feel most alive.

Maybe it’s being in what I believe to be His creation, but there is something about the outdoors that brings me close to God. I feel a connection, a relationship, like we can communicate, and I *love* that! I realize that there are different situations in which you can experience God, in church and through people, for example, but for me, one of the greatest ways I experience Him is through the outdoors. Some of the most beautiful things you’ll ever see are in the outdoors, and when a piece of natural beauty takes my breath away, I like to attribute that to God.

Now I don’t know it’s this “divine” connection, or the sense of peace, or the fresh air mixed with endorphins from being active, but I also find the outdoors to be incredibly inspiring. I cannot even begin to remember all the ideas, plans, and solutions to problems that have come to me while enjoying the outdoors. I know that if I need some out-of-the-box thinking, one of the best solutions is to go for a bike ride.

There is something about the outdoors almost forces me to be confronted with the real me. While I am still surrounded by plenty of “things” in the outdoors, many of the unnatural distractions are removed and I’m left with myself and my thoughts. Even in group settings, there is something about the environment and space of the outdoors that allows for introspection. In group interactions themselves, which often involve overcoming some sort of challenge, I learn about myself as well, in addition to creating a group bond and learning about others.

Now, it is SO TRUE, that all these things, pushing yourself, feeling close to God, being inspired, creative thinking, getting to know yourself and other, all of these can and do take place outside of the outdoors. For me, obviously, it happens in a big way in the outdoors. That’s where it’s at, and that’s where a big part of my heart will always be found.

note- the hiking trip might sound familiar to some of you, if you were lucky enough to be on that adventure! i tried to remember exact numbers as far as what day of the hike it was and how many miles we went… this is what i ended up with :o)

2 thoughts on “Passion in a Dry River Bed

  1. I like it alot – it’s the true Alissa – in all I know about you, you will always be the “outdoorsy” type!! šŸ™‚

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