Why do they do it? The crazy ones. The crazy ones who wanted their moment of fame and took the plunge over the Niagara Falls. The first one to go over the falls in a barrel was Annie Taylor in 1901. She intrigues me because like me she was an educator. She was close to my age when she did it. Actually, she was just 7 years older than I am. It is documented that she did it for financial reasons, but there had to be something more that motivated her. Maybe not, people will do insane things motivated by money. In the end, she died destitute.
What did she have inside her that made her want to attempt something that had never been done before and risk her life?
That is what I think about now as I drive home from my trip to Niagara Falls on the Canadian side this weekend. As I watched that powerful force of water drive over the edge, I tried to climb into Annie Taylor’s mind and imagine her as the barrel closed over her with no turning back. Was she confident that she would survive or did she have doubts? When she climbed out of that barrel at the end of the ride was she expecting her life to be completely different? What about as she was preparing for her journey over the falls? I can just imagine the talk of the town about the “crazy one.”
Then I started to compare my life to hers. Now I’m in no way saying that I want to risk my life doing something like going over those Horse Shoe Falls. I’m a scaredy squirrel when it comes to heights and roller coasters, so that’s not my thing.
But am I living my dream or just “swimming upstream?”
That is the comparison I think about. Since I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, I have this desire to be more of a risk taker. Life is no longer routine for me. I do crazy things like write songs, write this blog, enter song and writing contests. I am in the process of cowriting a children’s book. I am more out-going and love to meet new people. I do all of this not because I want to get rich or famous. However, I hope not to end up destitute like Annie Taylor. What motivates me? I think I’m a little bit like Annie Taylor inside. I do not think of the outcome of success or failure. I do not think about those around me who think I’m a little off my rocker. I do not listen to those who question me and say I will never have a hit song or wonder why I invest in this book I believe in.
I wonder if Annie Taylor enjoyed the journey of going over the falls? Yikes! I bet it was both exciting and terrifying at the same time.
That is how I want to live the rest of my life. Living the dreams that God whispers to me, “This is going to be both exciting and terrifying. People are going to think you are crazy. Do it anyway!”
That may be the difference between Annie Taylor and me. I pray that the risks I take and the dreams I follow honor God help me to see his miracles in my life.
Funny, Annie did walk away from that plunge over the falls in a mere wooden barrel! Miracle?
So I ask you. Are you living your dream or just swimming up stream? Do you have a dream for which you need to “take the plunge?” Do it! Life is short. Just don’t tell me that your dream is to go over the Niagara Falls– or life could be a little shorter. Live your dream!