Life is always about learning. Whether you are 2 or 92 there is always something to be learned, but when it is something about yourself that you thought you already knew it can be very humbling. And last week on our camping trip I learned a few new things about myself.
On the other side of the lake that we were visiting was a spillway. Which had a walkway over the cement part. It looked like this:
Now before you start thinking that we were endangering ourselves and our kids, the Ranger himself told us to go check it out and jump (and not because he didn't like us). And another mom there had jumped hundreds of times from this spot when she was growing up. Perfectly safe.
So the second day a lot of us went over to check it out.
Then some people, interestingly enough the young people, starting flinging themselves from the top.
Some of them even launched themselves into the air to get as high as they could.
After some of the adults saw that none of the kids had any lasting effects from the high jumping, they started taking the leap.
Yes, that is my Sweetie up there and after thinking about it for a while he did finally jump.
When I saw that he had jumped, with his fear of heights, I handed my camera to a friend and headed to the top. Now I am not scared of heights. I love being at the top of the Ferris wheel and walking across high bridges. I don't consider myself a timid person; I like adventure and but I still value my life too much to do really crazy things. And jumping off this bridge, that 12 year olds were flying off of was certainly not dangerous, right?
So I walked to the top, took off my flip flops and went over the side and onto the railing.
My friend next to me said, "Come on, let's go." And I said, "In a minute." The next thing I hear is a splash, and she was gone. Now I wasn't scared of being that high. I wasn't even scared of the falling feeling. What was on my mind was would happen when I hit the water. Would I go 15 feet under and not be able to swim to the surface? Would I get disoriented and start swimming down instead of up? How close was the nearest Emergency room?
Yes I know I was smiling in that picture, but I was quaking inside. So I stood there, for I don't know how long, staring at the water and thinking. Big mistake. One time I let go and started leaning out, then had to catch myself on the bar. People around me were giving lots of advice and trying to count down for me; that actually really bugged me because I wanted to be in control of when I jumped.
While I was contemplating my fate, this kind of stuff was going on around me.
By now another friend was standing next to me and she suggested jumping together. During a few confusing statements like, "Are we counting down from three?"and, " Are we jumping on three or in that next second?", I resolved myself.
And jumped. Or rather stepped off the bridge.
The fall was fine, hitting the water was fine (although I had my hands out so my palms stung for a few minutes afterwards) and even though I went down what seemed like 10 feet underwater, I popped right back up to the surface. I had jumped!
The feeling of accomplishment was enormous, but I was bothered by a few things. The reaction I had when stepping out onto the ledge was not how I thought I would react. I lost all my confidence. But I have learned in life that all trials teach me something so I looked for the lesson.
1. I am not as big as I think I am. When I stepped out up there, suddenly I was 2 feet tall and not able to swim. Even my lady friends were leaping off without a second thought and here I was, frozen to the bridge. Another reminder that humility can be learned in many ways...
2. I need accountability. Having that friend up there who suggested counting off and jumping together was what clinched my decision to jump at that time. I didn't need someone telling me to jump, I needed someone to jump with me.
3. That I need to prepare beforehand. After the jump we all compared notes and the people who got up and jumped right away had all done the same thing. They had resolved themselves, while walking up to the bridge, that they would step over the railing, count to three and jump. No checking out the sights, no thinking about how it would feel or what could happen...just step up and jump. I did not do that, partly because I thought I would not feel any fear at all and just step up and jump. Not.
And this bridge jumping thing was a family affair; Mr. Lego did jump 3 times off. I never got a picture but only this:
Bookworm stood on the ledge for quite a while, then decided to save it for next year and jumped from the lower wall.
And one final thing, we all thought when we were jumping that the height of the bridge was 45 feet (that was what the Ranger said) But later that day one of the guys went out and measured the jump and from the top railing it was a measly 26 feet.
So the big question is this: Will I jump next year? Would you?