"Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear." ~Ambrose Redmoon

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Jumping Off the High Dive

This morning I realized that my life this past few months has been a lot like the first time I jumped off the high dive at Chaffey High School's plunge. Only back then, the fear was overwhelming. 

It still makes my heart quiver to remember that day. I was a timid ten-year-old when my mother insisted I take swimming lessons for the umpteenth time. That was her way of keeping me busy during those long hot summer days. Because I'd already taken and passed every other swimming class Conrad, the instructor, put me in Jr. Lifeguards. He called it "junior" because I wasn't old enough for Sr. Lifeguards. Same lessons, different name so I could challenge my skills.
When that big burly 19-year-old said everyone had to jump off the high dive to pass the class, I told him to forget it. I was much too young to die.

He coddled and cajoled and tried every which way to get me to do it, but still I refused. Yet Conrad was determined. He'd already saved my life when I picked up a brick off the bottom of the pool. My scrawny arm wasn't strong enough to lift it out of the water and there was no way  after getting so close, I was going to drop it. Therefore, my head couldn't break the surface. Conrad yanked me out and I gasped for air.

Perhaps that incident helped me trust him when he finally said, "what if I go with you?"

I kinda had a little girl crush on him. "You'd have to hold my hand."

"Okay," he grinned. "Let's go!"

"Now?" I asked.

"Yes, right now."

My legs shivered all the way to the ladder. Conrad stayed right behind me talking softly as I climbed all those steps. He put his hand on my shoulder as we walked to the end of the board. Then, he said, "don't look down, just take my hand."

At the count of three, we jumped. As soon as we kicked off the bottom of the pool and broke the surface, I was proud of myself and ready to do it again! And again and again each time growing more confident in my ability and more grateful for a guy who wanted me to experience the thrill of achievement. I earned my certificate and don't know who was more pleased--me or Conrad.

A grown-up parallel happened this past October when my unemployment ran out. It was scary enough that I thought about taking a job at a grocery store because I wasn't sure how I'd pay my bills. But then a book project appeared, well sort of. It was ill-defined and would take quite a bit of time and effort. I hadn't ever worked quite that way before and wondered if I'd get into hot water.

What made up my mind was all the times, Jesus had held my hand in the past. Years ago He spoke to me in that same tender way, Conrad did. He said "Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand" ( Isaiah 41:10). So this time, once I was sure that He was with me, I jumped.

Now the book is almost finished, and I'm so pleased. What a thrill it's been writing In the Red Zone with Dr. Kent Tucker. The sense of accomplishment satisfies my desire to have purpose and meaning in my life. Hopefully it will help many people come to know my best friend. Plus the work provided for my needs all these months.

Now, another project requires jumping off an even loftier goal--blindfolded. There's still so much unknown. But the same God continues holding my hand. And, past experience tells me, He'll be with me as I climb the steps. I've no doubt, the thrill will be worth overcoming the fear.