Back from the Edge

When someone has lived at the edge, the edge where life and death touch, where safety and danger intermix, where adrenalin pumps, and senses stay on high alert, they can become addicted to the feeling. Some cannot stop and return again and again back into the lion’s den to fly higher, dive deeper, go faster. It is never enough for some and they just can’t stop. They are called daredevils, adventurers, mercenaries, and many other names. They continually return to the edge to feel the rush, to stare down the demons and to win. To win against an invisible enemy, that will not leave them alone. It is the Siren’s song that cannot be quieted and sings so sweetly in their ears. “If you won’t come back it is because you are not the person you really want to be. It is your life. It is your happiness. To hell with those other people, live large, feel the thrill, life is for you, the only person that really counts.” It is the drug that addicts from within and is just as addicting as any other drug can be.

These thrill seekers sacrifice one of their life’s most important duties which is to accept responsible for others. Because that would require that they keep themselves safe. Safe so they can meet their obligations. Not only do they need to keep themselves safe, they must also keep those who depend on them safe as well.

The Siren’s song never goes completely silent for those who have been to the edge and felt the fear, and did not wavier as they did whatever needed to be done. Many have met the challenges, and did not falter at the edge where life and death touch. But, it is the truly strong and the truly brave that learn they cannot let the Siren’s song drown out a greater need to move on and to accept responsibility for keeping themselves and others safe. They must put aside the thrills and the adrenaline rushes and accept their role of caring for those who depend on them. Their families, their friends, those they work with, all need to be protected, fed, taught and helped to grow and to become independent contributors to society themselves.

And most important of all, those who have been to the edge and know the thrill and joy that living on the edge can produce must not allow the echoes of the Siren’s song to drown out the new joy and happiness that comes with being needed and appreciated. The joy of being who they now are, and for the good they are doing, have done, and will continue to do for others.

That is why we have our stories that we can tell so that we can briefly recall what it was like, remember the feelings, relive the thrills, and then return from our past and live our life in the present. The present, the only time in which anyone can truly be alive.