Every now and again, when I’m sitting in my office at home (I call it my “room for improvement”) I look up from the book I’m reading or from my computer. It’s because I have been disturbed by a sound and the feeling it evokes in me. The sound might be wind whistling in the trees outside my window, or maybe it’s the honking of the Canadian geese that frequent a pond where we live. Often at night, I hear a lonely sound of a train’s whistle as it rumbles down the tracks somewhere in the valley.
When this happens, I feel inside myself a call – something that momentarily frees me from my appointed task, my role as a husband, a minister, a writer, even a human being. It frees me from everything that restrains me, and everything that protects me.
Sometimes, I even go as far as getting up, opening the sliding door and stepping out onto the patio. I let the cold wind mess up what little hair I have left, let it bite my skin. I take a deep breath. At that moment, staying warm, staying loved, staying sheltered is furthest from my mind.
I am taken away by this call. I call it The Call of the Wild. In the dictionary, the first definition of the word, “Wild” is “natural”. Natural comes from the word, “nature” and the first definition of nature is “to be born.”
The Call of the Wild is the call to return to our natural-born state. When we talk about being authentic, this is what we are really talking about.
When you and I follow our deepest enthusiasms, our clearest passions, we begin to realize some of the gifts with which Nature has endowed us. The call of the wild will always lead us to become as authentic as animals are to themselves when they climb mountain crags that only they can climb, or dive to ocean depths at which only they can survive.
Every one of us has heard this call, over and over again throughout our spiritual journey.
Wildness is not about acting crazy or being emotionally explosive. It isn’t even about venturing into the wilderness or doing some “wild-man-of Borneo” dance in your living room or at the local lounge.
When you and I try to lock ourselves into a comfortable orbit around some form of security, there is always something that comes to disturb and confound our safe and settled life. It is the passion that comes out of heeding the call of the wild. Listen. Can you hear it?