Growing up in Mobile, Alabama, I spent most of my summer days at the swim club with friends. The pool had two diving boards — a regular diving board and THE HIGH DIVE. Man, that thing was tall. I loved jumping from the regular board, but was always so afraid of the high dive. But why? Other kids seemed to have fun when they jumped, so maybe it wasn’t so bad after all. I was hesitant, but my friends kept saying:
“You can do it!”
“I promise, it’s so much fun!”
“Trust me, you’re gonna love it!”
One day I finally got up the courage to give it a try. And it changed everything.
Do you remember your first time jumping off the high dive? Do you remember what it felt like? How scary it was?
You got out of the comfortable water and slowly started climbing the ladder to the top. This is it. I’m gonna jump.
There’s no turning back. Because once you commit to climbing the ladder, there’s no way you can change your mind. The decision has been made. And everyone’s watching.
You stand on the board and take in the view as your hands shake on the rails. You inch your way forward until your toes hang over the edge.
The space between the board to the water is scary and unknown. A million thoughts race through your head during what seems like the longest free fall ever.
Once again, you are surrounded by the something familiar. Totally submerged in water. And as you come to the surface, with your first breath you shout, “That was…AWESOME!”
As adults, we have so many opportunities to jump. But just like when we were kids, we get scared.
“What if it doesn’t work out?”
“What will everyone think of me?”
“What if everything changes?”
But what if that’s the point? When you finally decide to jump, something inside of you changes. The high dive isn’t so scary anymore. Your perspective changes. You realize you were capable of far more than you ever gave yourself credit for.
Yes, that space between the board and the water is scary, but as you travel through the unknown space between your comfort zone and God’s plan for your life, you can hear Him saying to you:
“You can do it!”
“I promise, it’s so much fun!”
“Trust, me, you’re gonna love it!”
One year ago today, I was that little girl standing on the board taking in the view, hands shaking on the rails. I was inching my way forward until my toes hung over the edge. There was no turning back. Every step on the ladder had been made and the only thing left to do was jump. The space between the board and the water was so scary. It was the longest free fall ever. And I remember every inch of it.
One year ago today, I spent the morning soaking up the sunshine with Chris and the girls on a cool morning in Tuscaloosa. We explored the town. Went to church. Ate brunch. All the while, we knew we were on the verge of the inevitable jump.
One year ago today, I choked on my tears as I read Emma Claire The Kissing Hand in an attempt to somehow convince her that it was all going to be ok. But really, I was trying to convince myself. Trying to reassure myself that I had made the right choice. That they could handle being away from me. That I could handle being alone in this strange new place. That I could endure the silence of being “home” alone every evening during the week. One year ago today, I promised Emma Claire that the next five days would fly by, knowing in my heart that we would do this every Sunday for the next seven weeks.
One year ago today, I gave more goodbye kisses than I could count to the three most precious loves of my life. We cried. All four of us. We cried big crocodile tears. One year ago today, I stood outside as I watched Chris and the girls drive away as they left Tuscaloosa to go back home to Hattiesburg. I walked back up to my apartment and sobbed. I missed them so much already.
One year ago today, the silence was deafening. I missed their noise. I missed their chaos. I missed all the things that made me so exhausted as a mom. One year ago today, I went for my first run around UA’s campus to escape the silence. I ran without a map. Without a goal. I just ran. That route would later become the first three miles of this city that I would know by heart.
One year ago today, I ventured out in search of groceries. How do I go about cooking meals for one? I had forgotten what that was like. Everything was new and seemed so strange.
One year ago today, Chris became the world’s greatest dad. Instead of watching the Super Bowl, he sat in our house and let Emma Claire paint his toenails — a promise he had made to her in the car on their way home in the hopes that she would stop crying. She didn’t. But he let her paint them anyway.
One year ago today, I was scared and excited all at the same time. I lay wide-eyed and restless in an unfamiliar bed in my new temporary home. On the eve of my first day at my new job, a million thoughts raced through my mind. Did I pack everything I needed in my work bag? Did I remember where I was supposed to park? I tossed and turned for hours, unable to sleep until I finally surrounded myself with pillows so the bed didn’t feel so empty.
One year ago today, I thanked God for the phone call that came three days prior. The call from a doctor who found Chris’ resume on his desk the same day that their administrator quit. I thank God for His timing, because 48 hours after Chris got the call, he also got the job. Goodness, God’s timing is always right. I thanked God for confirming that this is where we were meant to be. For giving us a number of days to count down until we could live together again.
One year ago today I took a big leap of faith off the tallest high dive I’d ever seen. And I am so unbelievably glad that I did. Because just like when I was a kid, I finally got to the point where I was surrounded by the something familiar. And despite the scary space between the board and the water, the jump was AWESOME.
The picture in this post was from the first time Emma Claire decided to jump off the diving board. And you see who is waiting for her with his arms stretched out? Her father.
Are you sitting in comfortable waters staring at the high dive wondering if you should jump? Do it. I promise, God will be with you from the first step on the ladder to the moment you hit the water, and all the space in between. He is waiting for you in the water with His arms stretched out. You just have to trust Him and…