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I am 11 years old and I am standing at the top of the high dive at the local swimming pool and I am terrified. I look down. It seems to be 100 feet to the surface of the deep end of the pool. I look behind me. There’s a line of children waiting for their turn on this instrument of torture. There’s no way to get back down. There is nothing to do but jump, so I do. And….and….
My girl is poetry in motion. The move is called a split jump on the high beam and I have no idea how she does it. Jump. Legs apart. Legs together. Land. Maintain your balance. Over and over she practices until there is no wobble when she lands on the 4-inch wide balance beam. Jump. Apart. Together. Land. Balance. She is eight years old and 52 pounds of pure muscle. I love to watch her but I think about what it takes for her to make that jump. She has to jump high enough to have the time to split her legs and bring them back together before her feet hit the beam. It takes timing, coordination, strength, but above all, faith.
Faith that she will get her feet together in time. Faith that the beam will catch her. Faith in her own abilities. Faith that if she doesn’t get her feet together and back on the beam, there is a mat to break her fall. Anytime you jump it takes faith. Faith that something or someone will catch you. The seconds you are in the air between the jump and the landing constitute more than an adrenalin rush: those are exquisite moments of reckless abandon, of trusting in something more than yourself, because there is no turning back. You cannot un-jump and you can’t change your mind in the middle of it. You jump, you commit.
Is it wrong to admit that I heard Van Halen’s “Jump” from the moment I read the prompt?