If ever there was a parable in a picture this one would qualify. On a late summer afternoon a longing was fulfilled; a step was taken that had been considered for years but had simply been set aside for reasons of practicality. Maybe it was the testosterone level that was right that day. Maybe it was we knew changes were coming and this might be the last chance for us to do this thing. Maybe it was simply that the light was perfect. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that I am now 42 and it had been a whole bunch of years sine I had jumped off a cliff. Or maybe it was the realization that my kids were finally old enough to make up their own minds about doing questionable/dangerous/fun/crazy/memorable things. Whatever the reason we did it.
I jumped first. The fall was exhilarating but my impact with the water was almost debilitating. I pasted a lying smile on my face and groaned out a "Come on! It's great!" My poor entry into the water was no reason to deny others the thrill of leaping from the stony security of the cliff. One after the other they took the leap with a descending "Whooo!," a glorious splash and a concluding fist pumped victoriously into the air with a shout of conquest. It was, and will be forever, a memorable day.
My friend Barry captured this photo of my eldest taking his leap. It is a photo with the potency of poetry. Not only was Jeremy leaping from rock to river, he was also making the leap from family to future. It is his next big step. He seems to be enjoying the journey much like he enjoyed that marvelous day at the river. I hear tales of leaps he's recently taken from a bridge into a river near campus! I suppose that first big step and that first big leap inevitably lead to others quite naturally.
Do I worry? Sure. What parent doesn't? (I can tell you my mother worried enough for all of us on the day the photo was taken!) But my worry is not that he'll get hurt, or that he'll do something stupid - I'm pretty certain that's going to happen along the way. No my worry is, and has always been, that he will be afraid to take the next big step.
So, for Christmas he's getting a framed copy of this perfect parable in a photo to remind him of the joy in taking the next big step. Please don't tell him. I'd like to watch his face as he remembers this unforgettable day.