It looked easy. Grab a hold of the rope, climb to the rock, swing off and jump into the water.
It was scarier than I thought it would be. Both Todd and I were a bit fearful about how we would land. If we would get hurt and what risking the jump could possibly mean.
"It doesn't matter how you land. It just matters that you jump." I said encouragingly to my husband.
Todd made the jump first. His arm hurt a bit and his hand got torn by the rope and bled. But he jumped. He did what mattered.
And then there I was. Terrified. Standing on the edge of this rock and looking out onto the river. It wasn't the swinging part that had me uneasy. It was what I was jumping into.
If you know me, you know that I'm not really a fan of swimming in water with other living things. I prefer pools. Predictable, safe, non-fish inhabited pools. More than anything, I was afraid I wouldn't swing far enough and land in those lily pads and a water moccasin or some other terrifying creature would either eat me or cause some kind of horrifying bodily harm. I'm a bit dramatic, I know.
After a few minutes of deciding whether or not I was going to go through with this crazy rope-jumping business, I took off and began my swing. And when I let go, I landed right in those damn lily pads, just as I had feared that I would.
I may or may not have cried. Which really just means that I totally did.
Thankfully there were no creatures that came after me and I survived the entire experience, tears and all. I was mostly disappointed that my landing sucked. That I planted myself right where I hadn't wanted to. Part of me wanted to feel like a failure. And as soon as I began to go there, my own words that I had only spoken moments before to my husband echoed in my heart.
"It doesn't matter how you land. It just matters that you jump."
Tubing-on-the-river-day, became risk-taking, fear-overcoming day for the both of us. A day we can point to and remind each other of our guts and bravery next time life comes with something big and terrifying that requires a big jump and a huge river of uncertainty.
We may not always have the best landing. Things in life can happen as we fear it might. We will probably get hurt. Risk is always a gamble. But only those truly alive, are the ones who are willing to make the jump regardless of the outcome.
Knowing that both Todd and I had it in us to make the jump in the first place, made the blood and tears worth it in the end.