I was in Israel, traveling on some sort of organized program.
It was one of our first days, and our tour guide took us on a beautiful, picturesque hike. (Don’t they always hit you with those in the beginning?)
There were all sorts of bumps of hard, jagged rocks, ridges of soft, sinking sand and water flowing in unexpected places- all against the backdrop of blue skies and curvy mountains.
At some point, the trek became harder for me. The steps more laborious. The path more windy, more bumpy, less obvious.
I faced a crevice in the ground. A deep, wide ridge.
I would have to jump.
I’m not afraid of heights. In fact, I’ve jumped from quite a few high branches and cliffs into deep, flowing rivers (don’t tell my mom).
But this felt different. For some reason, it felt like jump would be momentous.
And I was scared.
I stood there, quickly assessed the situation, devised an alternative route, walked another way, and avoided the ridge.
I moved around the obstacle.
I did not have to jump.
I found an out.
After a couple minutes of continuing on the trail, I started to feel like a cop-out. A cheat. And it didn’t feel good.
I circled back around the ridge and stood where I just did, minutes before.
Somehow, I would find a way to clear this ridge.
Why is this so scary?
I was standing on a ledge.
I can’t really explain what that moment held for me. The panic. Finding a way to avoid the challenge. Circling back. Facing the fear and taking that leap, feeling the impact on my feet and joy in my heart.
I gifted myself a second chance.
And I was successful.
Oh, the pride.
I revisit that moment time and time again. And I draw on it for strength.
Because believe me, I’ve stood on many ledges.
I’ve had to jump many, many times.
And it doesn’t get any easier.
Sometimes the gaps are so big, so daunting, that even a parachute of dreams-come-true still would not ease the fall.
Sometimes the little jump feels so doable – just a little hop – until I’m midair, desperate for ground.
Sometimes even the energy needed to make that leap is beyond me. I am tired.
Somebody carry me, please.
It’s so much safer to stay on leveled earth- to resist the urge to rumble with gravity and remain grounded, firm and secure.
But really, where is the security?
In what, in whom, can we have faith?
Is there ever a way to avoid the pitfalls, the leaps, the moments where we need to suspend all logic– and just fall?
All that is in my control is how I face them.
What do I do, how do I feel, what do I tell myself, when I stand on that ledge?