“Although there’s lots of bad things in the world, there’s lots of good, too, and those things make the risk worthwhile.”
– Eliaria Jamil, By the Grace of the Gods
Episode 2, “Departure, With the Slimes”
Eliaria is a young girl, eleven years old, the daughter of a noble family in a largely peaceful world. When she says these words, she’s speaking to Ryoma, a young boy who has lived alone in the woods for a long time. Her family is offering to take the boy with them, to help him, and he’s entertaining the offer, but he’s uneasy about it. He’s never gone anywhere before, after all, and he’s not had great experiences with other people. But Eliaria explains that she is undertaking her first real journey with her family as well, leaving her home with the aim of doing new things and growing as a person. It’s a scary experience, she realizes, and there are some bad, dangerous things she and those close to her are encountering, but she’s also seen good things, and that makes it worth it, in her mind.
She’s so young, but already brave and learning wisdom, and her words were precisely what Ryoma needed to hear.
There is always an element of fear to everything new. That which is new is unknown, and that which is unknown could be harmless or it could be dangerous. People go about their routines calmly because they know them, they know what to expect. Going to new places, doing new things, meeting new people, all of these are exciting because we don’t know what to expect. So it’s easy to get caught up in our envisioning of worst-case scenarios, and thus become afraid and withdraw from this new, unknown, possibly-perilous thing.
There is prudence in caution, but to withdraw from everything just because it is new would leave the growth of our minds, our hearts, and our souls forever stunted.
Also, if we strive too much to avoid anything “bad,” we will certainly miss out on many good things as well.
Everything comes with risk. To pick a rose, we must brave the thorns. Mind you, it is more prudent to do so while wearing gloves, but we can still get pricked a bit anyway. The only question is what risks are worth taking for what we can gain from them.
In the case of Eliaria and Ryoma, they do experience some danger, see some monsters, but they learn a great deal in the process. They deliberately challenge themselves, and as a result they see wonders and accomplish things they never had before. Best of all, they form connections with those around them, becoming part of a larger family in their community. Bountiful rewards indeed for the risks they take.
There is much good indeed to be found in the world. It is a tragedy to never know them, and an even worse one to be held back from them by fear.
Went to play frisbee with a bunch of strangers, through the connection of a classmate, 6am in the Saturday morning. There wasn’t much risk involved, but that experience itself is sure worthwhile, and wasn’t anything I had planned to do a month ago. And hey, I’m looking forward to another frisbee match this weekend!
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