I was about 8 years old when I made my first climb.
It was long, very high, and very lonely.
It wasn’t something that you could do as a group.
Each person had to face that moment alone.
And so, there I was.
Wet, shivering, the wind whistling past my ears.
Getting to the top was the easy part.
It was walking to the edge of that rough covered gang plank
that was the challenge.
I don’t know how high that high dive actually was.
At 8 yrs. old it seemed 10 miles high if it was a foot!
But, once I was up there, I was committed.
Oh, I had checked it out…watched other kids make the climb,
and then, make their jump.
I’d been watching for weeks,
trying to get the nerve to make the jump myself.
That day finally arrived.
There I was.
Wet feet padding out on the gravely board,
looking down just long enough to make sure that my father
was in the deep end waiting to retrieve me from the jaws
of the watery depths, but not so long that I would lose my nerve.
There was a line of other jumpers behind me.
I curled my toes along the edge of the board for stability,
knowing that I only had one choice.
Oh, others had chosen to go back down the ladder,
but that wasn’t pretty…not pretty at all.
No, the only way to get out of this with any dignity and self-respect
In addition to the season of Lent, this is appointment season.
The season when the possibility of jumping into the depths of the unknown is part of our life as United Methodist clergy who intenerate.
Some choose to make the uncertain journey of moves by requesting to jump,
others are surprised by the invitation to leap…
(which could also be characterized as, and often feels like, a Holy Spirit push.)
Either way, we fly into the new.
For my 8 year old self, on the high dive, the obstacles
were the distance of the fall,
plunging deep into the water,
and having enough air to make it back from those depths
to the surface.
I was not sure that I could do it.
I knew I could jump.
I knew I could fall, because, well…gravity works!
But I didn’t know how deep I would go and if I would have
enough air sucked up in my lungs to get back to the surface.
But the reason I jumped, the reason I faced those fears was because…
my father was waiting.
My father was present in that unknown place I had never been,
in that unknown experience I had never had,
in that unknown challenge I had never faced,
in that unknown fear.
Because my father was already there…I knew I could jump.
That truth remains for all of us each and every day.
If I go up to the heavens, You are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, You are there.
Please keep the Bishop and the Cabinet in your prayers as churches, pastors, ministry needs and family needs, are all prayerfully held and considered.
And…thank you for the many leaps into the new you have taken this past year.
It has been amazing to witness and experience your faithfulness and creativity as you have faced the unknown and honored Christ with new ways of worship and ministry.
It is truly a gift to serve with you.
If you would like to view past editions of Grace for the Journey, follow this link: https://fairwaydistrictnc.org/category/from-the-ds/