Monday, May 29, 2006

Sometimes You Just Gotta Jump...

     In 2004, I took a very special and long overdue trip river rafting down the entire Grand Canyon.  It was a trip I had always wanted to do "someday", but never seemed to find the money or the time to make the trip.

     After being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in April 2003, I started looking more closely at my "Roundtoit" list...that illusive list of things to do when I finally got around to it.  It seemed ever so important to make this river rafting trip because my physical future had suddenly become such an unknown.  A year later in May 2004, I found myself pontooning down the mighty Colorado River with 13 other adventurous passengers!  It was truly a trip of a lifetime.

     One of my most memorable experiences on the trip was climbing on slippery rocks behind a large waterfall and crawling out onto a two story ledge overlooking a very cold pool of deep, desert water.  Our guides told us if we "wanted to feel a thrill" we should climb out on the ledge and jump...there were only four of us brave enough to tackle the challenge.

     I remember standing precariously out on this ledge and looking down into the green pool, wondering if I might have truly lost my mind to try something so foolish.  I almost turned back until I realized trying to climb down the rocks behind the waterfall might be impossible without slipping and cracking my skull open.  I was on the "edge" with a decision to make:  jump or risk falling.

     As I stood on the ledge, my traveling companions began to cheer me on.  I thought to myself, "Sure you chickens who haven't jumped have the courage to egg ME on!"  I stood there rather frozen and uncertain what to do.

     At some point, in what was probably only a matter of less than two minutes, I thought about why I was there on this ledge in the first place...I thought about why I was in the canyon in the first place.  I was there because MS had given me permission to stop living for the future and BECOME my future.  I was there because MS was teaching me to live in the "now".  I might never again stand on this ledge and have the opportunity to contemplate this decision.

     Suddenly I felt no fear.  I was acutely aware sometimes you just gotta jump and trust all will be well...sometimes it's important to step outside of the fear and experience the moment.

     In a moment of triumph and courage, I yelled out, "Here's to MS!" and I plunged feet first into the icy cold water below.

     Sometimes you DO just have to jump and trust there will always be something or someone below to catch us...

1 comment:

sonyasuzanne said...

I know you didn't mean to make me cry, but cry I did.  This post was beautiful.  I so want to have MS give me permission to stop living for the future and START LIVING IN THE NOW.  

How do I do that?  I wish I could figure it out.