Wednesday, March 2, 2011

How To Jump

In my experience, there are two kinds of jumps.  (I'm positive there are more; but so far, I know two.)

The first one is the free-fall from some great height in which cables, buckles, straps, and chutes are checked pre-airborne.  Like the time I stood on the ledge of a cage that hung precariously from a crane.

The operators almost revoked my 'opportunity' to fall jump because I took so long, standing there, a perfect summer breeze on my face, the peaceful nighttime view overlooking the city of Spokane, Washington, my life literally flashing before me -- scenes that depicted I had lived a great life thus far... positive it was only going to get better... more beautiful, more romantic, more adventurous... that it would really stink if the bungee cord didn't do it's job for some reason.

I hesitated longer, almost changed my mind, remembered that I wouldn't get my lousy thirty dollars back... then leaned forward and let myself plunge into nothingness.  Headfirst.  And while watching the concrete rush up at my face I thought, bungee jumping is one of the more stupid things I've done in my life!  I can't believe I paid thirty dollars to do something this stupid!

Lesson learned: motivation is powerful.  And I am powerfully motivated by the investment I have in a particular endeavor. 

Fast forward 13 years, marriage, four children, and (some) growth in maturity.

I prefer the second kind of jump.  Like the time our family loaded bicycles and drove north of Spokane.  It was Father's Day and though the sun shone brightly in a near-cloudless sky, a cool breeze promised for a refreshing ride around one of the lakes.

After cycling for awhile we came to a quaint beach with a small dock where we stopped for a snack break.  We only meant to rest, drink some water, eat a little bite... after all, we were dressed for the slight cool in the air -- blue jeans, long-sleeved shirts.  But the children looked longingly at the water.  They always do.   I looked down at my Capris and got an idea.

The children noticed me taking my shoes and socks off.  "I didn't know we were going to go in the water, Mom!  I would've wore my swimming shorts!"  They had wandered several paces out on the dock.

"Sometimes," I smiled mischievously, jogging past them on the dock, "you don't have to be ready!  You just have to jump!"  I leaped off the end of the dock, pulling my knees up in an attempt to make a splash.  By the time I surfaced, all four children and husband were throwing off shoes, the boys removing t-shirts.  Jumping off a dock and playing in water is a perfect way to while away moments.

Eventually, we sat out in the sunshine to dry... and have that snack we'd anticipated. 

To soak in Grace.  Knowing the moment would be recounted for years to come.

And that's how I'm learning to live.  To invest myself in ways that stretch me out of my comfort zone, call me to the edge, motivate me to plunge into the ever-unfolding story.  To seize opportunities with enthusiasm, throwing my heart and soul into the project, wanting to make a splash.

I'm three days into this "detox."  Remember I said I don't really have a clear picture of what that looks like yet.  But I'm so excited!  So far, I'm pursuing my lifelong dream to be a morning person.  And, so far, it's fantastic! 

There's other pursuits.  I'll keep sharing what I'm learning on this journey.  Our family finished reading Culture of Honor by Danny Silk last night.  We discussed upcoming Lent and fasting.  I made a suggestion and everyone loved it so much that they wanted to start right away...

Grateful.  So grateful!  For...
15. early morning workouts
16. husband who exercises with me
17. Holy Spirit's revelations filled with grace and love that knows no bounds
18. victory in Jesus, my Savior forever
19. coffee with a friend who spontaneously joins me when I realize I'm running late for the first day of nutrition class
20. sunshine splashed generously across table with math and spelling books laid wide
21. encouraging e-mails in inbox, waiting in bold to be read and re-read, tucked in heart's file for those moments when the race is uphill
22. boy who folds laundry "just so" and lays piles at the bottom of each person's bed
23. the wherewithal to hold my tongue when son squirmed, did gymnastics from dining room table bench, crawled underneath said table, stalled forever long on his math... only to emerge suddenly with, "Oh!  I got it!" as he quickly and intently scrawled the answer to the next problem (perhaps next time I'm facing a perplexing problem I might try this approach?)