Monday, November 07, 2016

The Dive

In my imagination, like a dream, I’m not in a voting booth; I’m on a diving platform.

At the end I can see an Olympics-high board, 10 meters. Scary high, if you ask me. But it’s up on a massive cliff, next to the ocean, so the height is a reality. It’s just not a height I bargained for.

I feel queasy. And it’s windy. I walk to the very edge and peer down. I don’t know if I can trust myself to make a good dive from way up here. What happened to dives that felt . . . reasonable? The dark water below is rough, deep, full of rocks and crevices that make me feel anxious. I can’t see a clear path below the surface. I've taken this dive ever since I turned eighteen, but this time finding an exact landing place seems so difficult. 

Other divers, I know, can’t imagine my ongoing hesitation; my lack of, I don’t know, backbone? Conviction? Bravery? They made their decision long ago, sure of the dive despite the conditions, sure where they wanted to land. So sure that the thought of flying through the air, at such a height, into turbulence worse than anyone can remember, hasn’t disturbed their peace. Or at least not as much as I think it’s disturbed mine. 

As I listened and read a million others’ conclusions, I thought almost every conviction was infused with valid points. So, right or wrong, I’ve lived in a land of uncertainty. 

Now I’ve walked out to the end of the board, toes curled around its edge, wishing for certainty I know won’t come. There’s no more time. I turn my head, wishing Jesus was standing right there to give me the final answer. But I know trusting the Father for ultimate results in this life, no matter the heights, amid the rough and turbulent, is the final answer. My job is to make the best dive I can.

I raise my arms and launch myself, headfirst. As I sail through the air, I realize some of the heavy responsibility I’ve felt all along is easing. When will I learn freedom most often comes with the dive? Holding my breath, I feel my hands slice through the surface, then my head, then my torso. My legs, my feet, my toes. 

It’s a good dive. In the water, I follow through with the task, finding the forward motion so elusive before. Then I turn and push myself up, and my head pops above a wave. I take a deep breath and look around, treading water. 

A crowd is gathered on the shoreline, and they call to me. I didn’t expect cheers, but I’ve been afraid there would be no welcoming committee at all. Not for someone like me. I haul myself onto the sand and dry off.  “We’ll wait together,” they say, never asking what choice I made in the deep, never judging even if they think they know. Believing the choice for many has been hard. Still is hard.

Others take their turn, dive after dive after dive. We welcome each one. Then, together, we wait. For together is the only best choice. 

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