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Choice Part II: Grey

“Adventure is a path. Real adventure — self-determined, self-motivated, often risky, forces you to have firsthand encounters with the world.  The world the way it is, not the way you imagine it.

Your body will collide with the earth and you will bear witness.  In this way you will be compelled to grapple with the limitless kindness and the bottomless cruelty of humankind — and perhaps realize that you yourself are capable of both.

This will change you.  Nothing will ever again be black-and-white.”

-Mark Jenkins

Choice is the terrifying reality of life. Part of living this reality – and this only sounds obvious, in practice it is much more difficult – means choosing to encounter the world the way it actually is. This kind of encountering is often painful and, therefore, will not happen naturally.

We don’t want collision; we want clarity. We want, and are bombarded with messages and media that reinforce this, to see people, relationships, conflict, jobs, family, ideas, and rules the way we want to see them. We want to know that limits and bottoms exist; that they can be calculated, enforced, and relied upon.

Thus, colliding with reality (as opposed to creating your own imaged version of it) is a choice that will change you and what you see. The world is a painfully redemptive combination of kindness and cruelty. Your own self is no different.

The more you practice this —


the more life becomes grey.

To choose grey requires effort and intention. Collaboration and humility. To choose grey means risking error (heresy). It includes adventure and heartbreak. Trusting people and getting hurt. More than once. More than twice. It means forgiving and repenting. Being changed, re-calibrated. Constantly.

The world encourages us to live in a black-and-white, right-and-wrong, either-or duality. Grey means going against the current. Sticking out and sticking up. Seeing when the rest of us close our eyes and hearing while everyone else plugs up their ears.

You will wrestle with this choice for your entire life.


About Samantha Curley

Hi! My name is Samantha Curley. I live in Pasadena, California where I run a non-profit organization called Level Ground (onlevelground.org). I like to ponder, ask questions, and share stories about life, art, and faith.


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