Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The View from Up Here

Not too long ago, we were having a bit of family fun swimming. Abbey was having fun jumping off the diving board, but she suspected that the high board (5m) would be even more fun. Twice, she climbed all the way up that ladder, then climbed right back down.

Seeing a teachable moment about conquering our fears, I gave her a mini lecture/pep talk encouraging her to take the leap. When I finished, Abbey asked me, "Mom, have you ever jumped off that high board?"

As far as I could remember, I had not taken that plunge. You see, I have a small issue with heights. I'm not technically afraid of being up high, nor am I afraid of falling (because I know that they don't let people continue to go up on high things if someone has fallen from it). But there is a physical reaction that occurs in my body when I look down from a high vantage point. And in all my years, the best I've been able to do is breathe deeply, cling tightly, and tell myself I won't fall - every once in a while this actually helps me. Most times, though, I have done what Abbey did - turn around, climb down, and back out.

I asked Abbey, in perfect teenage fashion, "If I do it, will you do it?" She grinned and nodded.

The climb up the ladder wasn't bad. Deep breath in, step-step-step, deep breath out, step-step-step. The walk on the first half of the diving board was manageable. Deep breath in, hold it, cling to the railing, steeeeepppp, steeeeepppp, steeeeepppp. But there is a point on every diving board where the railing ends and you are left to take those last few steps on your own.

I froze. My pulse hammered at my throat. The walls and pool seemed to shift and move, rocking with the twisting of my stomach. My legs literally trembled. I felt like a blob of jell-o on a plate that someone had just flicked to make it dance.

I took another breath, let go, and stepped. No! I stepped back and grabbed the railing. The board and I danced this way three times. I thought to myself, "I can't do this." I started to turn back. No! I told myself, "You can do this. Your little girl is down there, counting on you to do this. She is watching you, and will take her lead from your choices. Do not let her down!" My legs of gelatin cautiously carried me to the edge of the board, and I stood with hands extended to hold my balance. One, two, three, breathe, plug nose, and jump step right off that board. Victory!

It took a full half hour for my queasy stomach to relax, longer to feel as though my legs could hold me upright. Abbey proceeded to leap off that 5m high board a dozen times.

I could draw a million (or three) parallels and metaphors on how this relates to our relationship with God:

#1 - Sometimes faith is scary.
#2 - There are lots of times that we must simply step out in obedience, knowing the truth that God is with us even when we feel terrified and uncertain.
#3 - Someone is always watching what we do, and making choices about their own faith based on our actions.

But mostly, I just wanted to tell you because it's a darn good story. And hey - I jumped from the high board! Nanananana!


  1. That really was a darn good story! Congrats on taking the jump! My legs are like jello too sometimes...not weak or anything, they just jiggle like jello.

  2. Oh that's good stuff!! That should be somewhere on your blog so you (and I mean we) can see it everyday!


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