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Sunday, June 5, 2011

Plunging

“Jump! Jump! Jump! Jump!” the crowd below chanted as I stood ten feet above them on the high diving board at the Mineola Pool on Long Island. I had managed the twelve-step climb to that point despite my trepidation, but on the springboard I was frightfully immobile. I saw only two options. One was to take the same twelve steps backward down the ladder to where I had come from. The other was to take the plunge.

I jumped. As my trembling prepubescent body penetrated the water, an enduring life lesson penetrated my soul. Sometimes, it is necessary to “do it afraid.”

It took a few seconds for me to orient myself; this depth was unfamiliar territory. I found that when I relaxed, when I didn’t struggle or panic, I naturally rose to the surface without much effort. My head found its way toward the light where there was air to refill my lungs. I was OK.

When I returned to the Mineola Pool the following summer, as a more confident and daring adolescent, I ascended the same twelve steps. This time, I needed no cheering crowd to encourage me. Standing ten feet above them on the high diving board, I spread my arms—winglike. Then I jumped, plunging with faith into the waters that caught me.

Three decades have passed, yet the message has replayed repeatedly in my life. At times, after taking the necessary steps toward a goal, I have been paralyzed by fear, unable to move forward with a plan. Then I remember that my sweaty palms are not necessarily an indication that I should not proceed with an endeavor. That thumping sound in my ears may be more than the pounding of my nervous heart. It could be the sound of the springboard beneath my feet.

In these decisive moments, if we will only be brave enough to leap and not turn back, the benevolence of life will ensure our safety. We will find our way toward the light. We will be given breath. We will be OK.

Be enlightened!  ~ M
Every event prepares us for the next.
See here my first attempt at plunging,
many years prior to ascending
the high dive ladder.

3 comments:

  1. my first blog! also yours! so in we dive, w/out training wheels,as you did those years ago, expecting.......?
    i, too, used to go off the high dive--i would make myself, because i was so terrified! why? i am intrinsically afraid of heights: my kitchen step-stool scares me!

    i am going to like it here: i could stand to be enlightened daily. your blog made me think of something i like a lot--maybe it id "old" now, but it belongs, and so:

    "When you come to the end of all the light you know, and it's time to step into the darkness of the unknown, faith is knowing that one of two things shall happen: Either you will be given something solid to stand on or you will be taught to fly."

    my mom says to tell you thank you for the very nice time. i do. i hope i may be allowed back. in the meantime:
    HEY, UNIVERSE! SEND FOLKS TO MARY'S PLACE!

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  2. Hi Linda!

    I thank you for your comment and for becoming a follower. You and your mom are both welcome here.

    Ahh, Edward Teller. His quote reminds me of one that my dearest friend often recites. It is by Frenchman Guillaume Apollinaire:

    “Come to the edge,” he said.
    They said, “We are afraid.”
    “Come to the edge,” he said.
    They came.
    He pushed them, and they flew.

    Be enlightened! ~ M

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