I am hiking around Avalanche Lake in Glacier, Montana with my dad and brother. I stop at a freezing stream. It’s not too wide, and Mark and my dad hop across it without a second thought. I stop at the water’s edge. The water is moving very fast and it is icy cold. Eying the large, wobbly rock in the middle of the stream, I know I have to jump there to get to the other side. I stand at the bank, scared to jump. I’m not sure what I’m afraid of – that I will fall? That I will hurt myself? That I will slip? I am unwilling to leap across the stream to get to the other side. My dad and Mark are cheering me on, as we laugh at my ridiculous fear. Finally, my dad stands on the rock in the middle of the stream and holds out his hand. Slowly, I grab it, and jump onto the rock. From there I jump to the other side of the stream.
We all have moments like this.Standing on the edge of cliff, ready to jump into the lake at the bottom.A diving board. The moment before you jump out of the plane, praying that your parachute will work.That moment, where you decide to jump off the bridge, trusting that bungee jumping is actually safe. I’ve never actually been cliff jumping, sky diving, or bungee jumping. Heck, I can’t even jump across a little stream 🙂 But we all experience things like this every day, the moment where we choose to follow through with a decision.To me, the scary thing is not jumping into the unknown – jumping onto the rock hoping it’s sturdy. No. The scary part is letting go of the edge of the stream.Of forcing your knees to bend and your feet to leave the ground. To leave the cliff behind. To leave the other side of the bank behind. To let go of your comfort zone. To say goodbye to your past, not fear the future, and embrace the present. Embrace the free falling. Embrace the moment you land in the water.
It’s getting on a plane to college. It’s embracing your greatest fears and facing them.
It’s speaking out in a crowd. Standing alone when everyone disagrees with you.
It’s taking a risk.
Next week, I get on a plane to go to BYU. To live with six girls in an apartment. To cook my own food and make my own money.My comfort zone is laughing with my family in a suburban on a road trip somewhere.It’s watching a chick flick with my mom and sisters on a Sunday night. It’s sitting at the foot of my parents’ bed, confiding with and listening to them.Going to church on Sunday for three hours, sitting next to Luke Rallison in Sunday School, and shaking my bishop’s hand in the hallway.Coming home from school, teaching piano, doing my calculus homework, reading some philosophy, and eating dinner with my family.Sitting in a humane letters discussion and voicing my opinion.
But now I get to take that leap.I am going to BYU.I still will watch a chick flick on Sunday nights, but with my roommates.I will still go to church every Sunday, but I won’t sit next to Luke in Sunday School and I will have a new bishop.My classes will be different – they won’t be the familiar Socratic discussions with my best friends I’ve known since I was 12.They’ll be lectures, on social science. Bigger classes. But I’m excited. I’m excited to learn new things. I’m scared to cook healthy, yummy food on my own – but my mother has been training me my whole life for that 🙂 I’m scared to manage my finances and earn a living, but my dad is a genius with managing finances and will always be there for me.
I’m scared to live by myself, but I am excited. It’s a new chapter in the book of my life. I don’t know if I will ever be ready or fearless. But, I must jump.