Sunday, December 20, 2009

a metaphor.

Friday, as Jordan and I were traveling to Birmingham to embark on a "mystery vacation" with his family, we began to talk about our future.

Not in a fun and exciting way, but in a "what in the world are we going to do" way.

What comes after May is blank to us. Empty. Scary. Unknown.

Which brings me to my metaphor.

Upon arrival in Birmingham, Jordan's parents shared with us our previously unknown destination: a 90-foot high zip-line and course in North Georgia.

Now, I don't consider myself to be scared of heights.

I've climbed to the top of the duomo in Italy, stood atop a rock in Huntsville, and have enjoyed the views from the Empire State Building and 30 Rock, never once feeling even the slightest bit queasy.

But one look at that zip-line had my stomach tied up in knots.

The Joneses were so excited, and I was paralyzed. Not just out of fear, but out of anger.

"Why are they making me do this? Who thinks of this as fun?"

As we strapped on gear and began to climb, the knots in my stomach became bigger, and the anger grew.

My father-in-law said not to feel pressured, but I did. I wanted to make everyone happy, to not ruin the first vacation I've ever taken with Jordan's parents.

So I kept climbing.

And then I flew.

I'd like to be able to tell you it was life-changing, an experience I want to relive again and again.

I wish I could tell you I fell in love with the rush of air in my face and adrenaline in my body.

But I didn't.

For three-and-a-half hours in 45-degree temperatures, I was scared. Smiling, but scared. There were moments of fun, of course, but when your feet are 60-feet above ground, and a rushing creek threatens to swallow your life, those moments of unadulterated fun were brief and often followed by pain or terror.

But I did it.

I pressed on.

The girl who only rides roller coasters with her father took a leap alone.

Not for me, by the way.

I could easily have enjoyed a morning curled up in the lodge, drinking hot chocolate and reading a good book.

Not for bragging rights.

It is a well-known fact that Annie Sue Butterworth (now Jones) doesn't care what people think.

I did it for Jordan.

For Jordan's dad, who despite his insistence, I think would have been really disappointed if I didn't jump.

For Jordan's mom, who I'm pretty sure has been planning this trip for months with us in mind.

And as I climbed on tight ropes, through trees, and over water, I began thinking:

Sometimes, God asks us to climb. To leap. To trust.

It's painful.

It's scary.

But He promises us we will be blessed.

Now -- and here, I think, is the part we forget -- He doesn't promise safety.

He doesn't promise fun.

He doesn't promise that the leap will be painless.

But He assures us it is worth it.

And that leaping is better than staying.

I don't know what May will bring for me and Jordan.

God may call us to stay put.

Or to start a new adventure in D.C. or Athens.

Or to build on a foundation set in Montgomery.

All three options will require leaping.

All three options are, in a sense, a little painful and a lot scary.

Thank goodness, the metaphor ends there.

Because, in zip-lining, I was all alone.

Each step I took was timid, careful. I was self-reliant (albeit with lots of ropes and harnesses).

Leaps of faith are different.

They are scripted and guided by our Father, who promises He will leap with us.

Our steps and our leaps will not be faulty, because He never leaves our side.

And so we will leap.

Not because it's fun.

Not for bragging rights.

Not even for the sake of adventure.

We will leap out of love for our Father, who so often leaps on behalf of us.

{Photos of the highly anticipated mystery vacation soon to come.}

1 comment:

chet said...

Reminds of a little story about a man named Abram. And God said "go."