JUMPING INTO THE DEEP END
As a person who is totally blind, my life has certainly been interesting. I’ve learned, however, that we all have hurdles to hop over in life, whether it’s blindness or something else, and we can learn a lot from one another’s life experiences when we’re willing to share them. For the sake of educational entertainment, or a word I like, edutainment, I hope we are all taking time to share our significant stories with one another. To get the ball rolling, here’s one of my own.
One summer when I was seven years old, my family traveled to Louisville, Kentucky for a five-day vacation. My parents got me all excited reading the brochure of where we were vacationing and about a high diving board that jutted over the pool. As soon as we arrived, I grabbed my towel and swimsuit and headed to the pool. I will never forget climbing the ladder, counting each step until I reached the diving board. I centered myself by carefully walking down the board until the tips of my toes were touching the end. Standing 12 feet above the water and completely fearless, I leaped into the air. My body tingled as I experienced the free falling sensation. And then, SPLASH!
What a rush! With great excitement, I made that fearless jump more than a dozen times. Little did I know, my high diving fun was about to come to an end.
The adults and kids that were watching me began to tell me how brave I was for jumping at such a dangerous height. Many stated they would never do what I was doing, and that if I could actually see how high I was on that diving board, that I wouldn’t either. They were sowing fear into my life. They thought they were complimenting me, but as I heard how daring it was, doubt and fear completely consumed me.
So, as I began the much slower climb up the high dive ladder for another flight from the diving board, I became utterly cautious, carefully counting each step up the ladder, which now seemed as tall as Mount Everest. When I finally reached the top, I started to panic as the words of the spectators replayed in my head. I crept forward on the diving board at a snail’s pace. When my toes felt the end where I had so excitedly leaped off before, terror seized me, and I froze on the edge of the board, teetering over the water.
Dad told me not to be afraid and that it was not an option for me to back down now. He wanted me to face my fear and stand it down, but I was scared. Dad could be kind, but also stern. He commanded me to face this fear since I had done it so many times before. He was simply trying to teach me the power of negative words and how they can cause us to miss out on some exciting episodes of our lives if we allow them to take root. Dad knew that I could make the jump at least one more time. He also knew “God does not give us a spirit of fear, but of love, power, and a sound mind.” (I Timothy 1:7)
With eyes wide open, I finally made the jump. SPLASH! I came out of the water grinning from ear to ear. I had conquered my fear for good. I climbed up again and jumped a second time, just for good measure.
That day, I learned a valuable lesson on the high dive. If we’re not careful, we can allow people to infuse fear in us even when there is nothing to be afraid of. I appreciate the fact that Dad did not want me to become the victim of unnecessary fear and doubt, but instead to be confident and face challenges head-on.
Maybe you’re facing a high dive situation in your own life. Don’t let fear and doubt hold you back. Today is the day to make a splash.
To see and hear another daring Blake adventure, check out this video of my exhilarating sky dive experience a few years ago: http://blakelindsay.com/videos/leap-of-faith/