AUTHORS NOTE: I wrote this is 2010 and have kept the text mostly as I wrote it then with a few grammatical fixes.
I climbed the slippery rocks to the top of the ledge and peered over the edge to the water below. I stood tall and took a deep breath. As I exhaled I absorbed the beauty and the serenity of the place. I became awestruck by the moment and the risk I was about to take. I was about to truly live.
It was a 2.5 mile hike to Abrams Falls in the Cade’s Cove region of the Great Smoky Mountain National Forest in Tennessee. I hiked ahead of the group with my son. We enjoyed the cool water, the remoteness of the falls and the beauty of the day. It was truly epic just to be there. Sometimes, though, simply being there isn’t enough. Sometimes you need to be and do.
On this day, and in this place, I chose to stand a little taller and be a little more. I chose to step into the batter’s box of life. I chose to risk. I chose to live. Some spend their time going with the flow. Not me. Today I chose to stand out and do something special. Carpe Diem. I seized the day.
I knew the water was deep enough. I knew I could do a 30 foot jump off a waterfall. It really isn’t that hard. It’s the fear that’s the challenge. It’s the letting go of control. It’s the 2 second fall where you are literally flying that is the hard part. The landing was sure in my mind. But there is always that risk with jumping off a rock and falling 30 feet to the water below. Things can happen. The risks really aren’t worth it. Or are they?
Sometimes I believe we need to test ourselves. Sometimes we need to just let go of what we know and have faith that things are going to work out. Faith can mean a lot of things. To me a simply in trust in yourself and what is going to happen next. It’s something that we need to have and we need to test.
Jumping 30 feet off a waterfall into the churning water below is a test of faith.
Some run from tests of faith. Sometimes we have to. Sometimes we need to. Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference. I saw a cherished friend run recently from a test of faith. If she tested the faith instead of running things may have turned out different for her. Now she will never know. The opportunity is gone.
When have you tested faith? Have you ever just left a job or took a big risk? Usually things work out, right? Not always but often they do.
Have you ever been totally wrong? Yeah, me to. That’s OK also because it’s in these times that we learn and become better.
Think about how you can stand on you waterfall. Think about that leap like I did that day. Think about the risks but do not dwell. Get some good footing. Make sure you have a place to land. You will be safe. Now… take the leap.
I stood for a long moment on that ledge. People down below may have thought that I wasn’t going to jump. Not true. I was going to jump. I just wanted to appreciate the process of conquering my fears and conquering my life.
I proudly held my hands high for all to see. I wasn’t showing off. I was showing the world that I am one of the lucky ones. I get it. I know what life is. I know that to live life you need to live life and accept only the best from yourself.
AUTHORS NOTE: Forgive the grainy picture but this is actually me doing that jump. The child on the left is my son Colby, age 10 at the time.
The flight through the air was magic. It was only a couple of seconds but it made me feel like a champion. I hit the cool water cleanly and shot up instantly for air. I had made the jump. It felt so good.
You don’t need to jump of a waterfall to truly live. That’s what I like to do. For you it may be simply going for an extra 10 minutes on your walk. Maybe it’s starting a blog. Maybe it’s quitting soda or alcohol. Maybe it’s asking out that person you met at a road race. Maybe it’s joining a fitness program. What the risk is does not matter. What matters is that you… stand tall…. breath …. appreciate what you’re doing… then… jump with all your might with faith that what your doing is right.
Let others judge if they want. For you the action and the faith is what drives your bus.
Do it with all your heart. Now then YOU are truly living.
Doesn’t it feel good? Yeah, it does.