I've learned the lessons of light and darkness over the last 20 years. As I went from sighted, to visually impaired and finally, totally blind, my faith in God and the people around me has grown. A few small steps at first, but by leaps and bounds as I trusted, walked, fell and found my self in His loving arms. I first learned this lesson though, when I was 20 years old.
As a college sophomore, spring break, held the promise of parties, guys and fun for a week. For the college it was not during the school's break, it was during the high school's. My roommates and I still had to go to class, our on-campus jobs and labs. At night though, the pull of the music and the crowds couldn't be ignored.
In the parking lot of a grocery store a block away from our apartment, there was a crane set up for bungee jumping. It was at least fifty feet in the air and held a spot light on the platform from where kids would jump.
I'd seen it before, I'd watched other people screaming from the top, plunging into the darkness, only to come up laughing.
One night my roommates and I decided we'd jump. A friend of ours was working the crane and he told us he'd give us one jump for free.
Climbing up the the light at the top of the platform wasn't nerve wracking at all. Our friend was at the top. He was charming, funny, and totally confident. He rigged us all into harnesses, explained what would happen, and warned us to relax and not stiffen during the fall.
We huddled around him and the light as the people in front of us took their turns. One girl was hysterical and had to be lowered down. Most looked either a little impaired or just plain crazy. When it was my turn, I left the circle of light where my friends stood and walked forward on the platform. Chris hooked up my harness, tested the connections and stepped back with a grin.
"Okay, trace, walk to the edge and then just step off."
Easy enough, I remember thinking. Just walk to the edge of the light and then take a few steps into the darkness.This didn't sound deep and profound to me in that moment. I was psyching my self up to jump. Taking those first few steps was terrifying. It was pitch black below. I could hear the people on the ground laughing and talking. I could hear Chris and my roommates behind me. All I could think...Take a step into the darkness.
I closed my eyes, took a deep breath and walked off the edge.
The drop was a thrill, a terror, and the most fun I had that spring break. I flew for about 3 seconds, got my shoulders wrenched on the landing and never felt more free than during that three second fall.
It was years later when I'd lost my eyesight that the memory of that night came back to me. The feeling of absolute terror before I took the step into the darkness and the adrenaline soaked moments of the fall following.
As more falling moments approached me, I always pulled up the memory of the bungee jump and reminded myself. No matter how frightened I was, I wouldn't give up the ride to stay safe back on the ground. My harness in life, is my Savior. I expect to fall, its part of the ride. I also expect Him to catch me at the bottom, and He always does. Sometimes I wrench my shoulder as He stops me from crashing. Sometimes I end up with broken bones, surgeries and minor injuries, but He always catches me. I never worry about hitting the ground at the bottom, sometimes I never even fall. No matter what happens when I step out though, He is always with me. In His arms I'm always safe and I love the ride.