2020 - High Dive Year
I am emotionally, spiritually and physically exhausted. My guess is that you just might be experiencing the same thing. We all have different jobs and responsibilities and for many of us we are taxed out on life. Life has been kicking my butt this year like a tumbleweed in Kansas. If there was ever a big red ‘Easy’ button in life, I admit I would have already hit it. I would have pressed it during the Covid quarantines when my anxiety spiked and my loneliness crept to super uncomfortable levels. I would have hit the button when I saw my business owner friends struggle to keep their livelihoods afloat. I would have hit it for the people in my life working in the food and restaurant business who have been struggling to figure out a new plan for 2020. And I would have absolutely hit the button when I saw the video of George Floyd being killed on a hot Minneapolis street. Enough. I am done. Yet, what if it’s true and 2020 isn’t the year that we wanted, but the one that we needed?
I’ve had many rough years personally- 2007, 2016 and now 2020. The first two were years that rocked my life with crisis, betrayal and subsequent heart shattering. They were years that I absolutely hated and would never choose to revisit, yet I grew at unprecedented levels. In fact, I became my best self because of them. I would not have chosen them, but I needed them to be where I am today. I wonder if 2020 will have me saying the same thing. Will we look back and realize that 2020 really was the year we needed to shine a light to our darkness? Will we see that Covid and the protesting were what needed to happen to heal us as families, individuals and a collective people?
I remember going to Catalina pool in Muncie, IN as a kid and staring at the high dive. It was basically in the sky with Jesus and the thought of jumping was terrifying. Yet, the people who jumped and swam to the metal ladder looked happy. Scared – then happy at their accomplishment. I remember my red swimsuit with the white trim climbing that big ladder. Kids were stacked up in front of me and behind me- nose to butt. The 16 year old lifeguards were trying to maintain order, but a whistle couldn’t stop that train of fun. It was finally my turn and I was standing on the high board of peril in the clouds. I stood there a long time. The whistles from the trusty lifeguards were blowing, kids were yelling to hurry up and I was just staring at the water a million miles below me. I knew I had two choices – jump or feel the shame of pushing my way back down the ladder. I remember the little boy in line behind me slapping the high dive to make it shake and get me to fall off. I remember shouting at him that I’m not ready yet! I then stood there shaking in my red swimsuit and wishing I hadn’t gotten myself into this predicament. I remember looking for my mom and nope, she didn’t realize her child was about to break all world records by jumping from Jesus into the water. I was all alone and had to make a choice. The little punk behind me hit the board again, I screamed at him and stopped thinking and just jumped. Had no one been looking I probably would have climbed back down. Let’s be honest, I would have totally turned around and shoved past the masses. Instead, the noise and potential shame helped me jump. After swimming to the ladder and pulling my swimming suit out of regions of my body it wasn’t supposed to be in, I was happy. Happy that I had finally done it. I didn’t spend another summer wondering what it would be like to be a part of the high dive jumpers - I was now them.
Maybe, just maybe we’re all being called to the high dive. What if in this new era we can start creating the life that we want to live versus just surviving? What if we’re being called to reshape our dreams and careers into that which we never imagined? What if we’re being called to reform our country into that which we’ve never experienced? Maybe, just maybe that is our high dive experience.