By Karen Friday
My bare feet made their way up the ladder, mortified to back out now.
A jump from the high diving board. Could I pull it off? With this quiet, secret fear of heights? A ‘public’ embarrassment to turn around and go the same way I had arrived—down the ladder. Past the people waiting in line. As pool-siders gawked behind sunglasses, I would look like a scaredy cat.
Me and my sister, along with friends, hung out at the local pool several summer days a week. We were middle school age (yes, younger kids jump off high dives). I had conjured up enough courage to make jumps (oodles of them) off the low dive. It was low.
Mind you, I wasn’t planning a crowd-pleasing, eyebrow-raising dive or backwards flip. I wasn’t a good diver. I kind of fell into the water from the sidelines with hands in proper position to go in first and head following after. My body wasn’t perfectly straight, bent legs gave me away. (Judges score cards read 3.0.)
I was not olympic material. So why all the fretting, sweating, and heart dropping to my stomach to jump? That’s all…jump.
Friends coaxed us, the Clarkston twins, into executing this feat. We had a good name to protect (although I don’t know what the good part was, maybe we were hip). At the bottom of the high-dive ladder, we had a going first tug-of-war. “You go first. No, you go first.” I reluctantly agreed…to go first.
Gave myself a pep talk, “For goodness sake, Karen, get a grip on yourself. You are only jumping off the end of this long board into nice, soft, sparkling water. You can do this. Stay straight and vertical, feet go in first. Oh, and don’t bust the water on entry, it will hurt.” (Absolutely no pressure for the first jump.)
This high diving board story ends with a sigh and an inward celebration—to remain impressively cool (Hurray, I did it!). Again. And again. We both jumped multiple times. Honestly, I always preferred the low-dive. I’m a low-dive, low-altitude kind of girl.
There is another who went first. Again. And again. The person we never have to implore to go first. No begging, “Please, with sugar on top…and whipped topping…and a cherry! Pretty please!” No, none of that.
This is where going first started:
We love because he first loved us. I John 4:19 ESV
Jesus went first.
He went first. Our example. To love as he first loved us. To make peace by forgiving, as he forgave first. To die to ourselves…our desires as we carry a cross daily, as he died first…unselfishly bearing a cross. To live sold-out for our heavenly father and accomplishing his will on this earth…as Jesus lived. He went first.
Jump in with both feet. From the sidelines. From the low or high dive. Ease in from the pool-side ladder or come slip-sliding down the slide. But, by all means, get into the water. Live life to the fullest…for him.
You don’t have to go first. He already did.
Make a big splash in a large way for the one who went first. Jesus.
© 2014 by Karen Friday
December 4, 2014 at 9:15 am | Uncategorized