Wednesday, October 7, 2009
I recently visited my hometown for a reunion and had the opportunity to visit many of my favorite childhood hangouts. The pool in particular brought back some interesting memories.
I enjoyed the pool except for one object. The high dive. I will never forget that thing. It taunted me every time I went swimming. Down at the shallow end of the pool I would stand and stare at it with awe. It was as tall as any diving board ever erected. The sun gleamed off its light blue surface and somehow seemed to make those who successfully made the climb more beautiful than the rest of us mere mortals.
I could clearly see from my vantage point the excitement of the hero children who flew off the edge of the structure with all the glory of an eagle diving to the surface of some majestic mountain lake to capture its prize for the day. They seemed to live the life of excitement I craved.
Then finally one day I mustard up the courage to make the climb. I was careful not to tell any of my shallow pool friends that this was the time I had chosen to fly. As I stood there at the bottom rung of the ladder I thought how different my life was going to be after conquering the high dive. I would now be among the pool elite. No longer would I be constrained in the shallow depths of my inner fallacies.
So up I went. Step after step. Soon I had made it to the top and walked to the edge of the board. As I looked down, my enthusiasm waned. Now I could see all the way to the bottom of the pool. The dive that just minutes earlier had me nervous about the 15-foot drop suddenly looked more like a 1,000-foot spiral of death.
What to do?! I couldn’t just turn around. By now everyone in the pool was staring at the chubby diving board kid and knew I was nothing but a frightened little boy. Also there were other kids gathered at the bottom just waiting for me to do something. If I failed, everyone would know. I would become the subject of ridicule for all. Stories would be written. Songs would be sung. All would come to know the failure that was David Copeland.
So with all the courage I could muster I jumped.
It was one of the most spectacular belly flops ever performed.
So what happened next? Part of me would like to tell you that I climbed right up that ladder and gave it another try. To tell you the truth, I don’t think I ever jumped again. Within a few years they removed the high dive and took away any chance I would ever have to conquer the blue behemoth.
Have you ever felt this way? Have you ever worked hard to climb the ladder of success or get to the project assignment only to find the view from the top to be more frightening than you imagined?
I have many times and many of my attempts turned into flops. Fortunately, I have begun to learn that when I am faced with these situations I must to give it another try because sometimes it is better to face the pain head or belly on. Walking away only leaves us with feelings of regret. When we return to climb up the latter again, we may find the board to be gone, the project reassigned, or promotion no longer there.
I do not want to miss my opportunities to fly. I want to see the challenge and dive in headfirst. I want to live a life that soars beyond my earthly expectations.
What about you? Would you jump again?