'i wasn't jumping, for me it was a fall...'
in the middle of the night, i'm chatting online with an ex about the status of our present day relationships. we do this, more than a decade away from the other, for two reasons, really. first, to affirm for each other that we've created full lives apart from the other and second, to avoid admitting we still have lingering feelings that can still slip through in our words. whereas we only talked in random thoughts in our years together, now we dissect our respective lives and, yes, on more than three occasions, we paint pretty pictures for the other about our present worlds.
the pretty pictures part is key.
around 2 a.m., the conversation switched from our conjoined past ("i remember you always wanted the lights out," he taunted. "that's just until i got good at it, baby. then i wanted you to see everything i could do," i teased back) to our present.
"so how are things?" he asked. "really..."
whether it was the hour and the fuzz filling my brain, because i knew this man on such an intimate level, or simply (ok, not simply) a combination of those two ingredients, i spilled out my frustrations and concerns about my life to him. communciation issues. connection issues. a feast of worries, really.
before you fault me for telling someone who i know probably shouldn't have this much information about my present day existence, do know my husband is as up to speed on things. we revolve around each other nicely. routinely. somewhat lacking. but nicely, for sure.
after many queries and responses sent back and forth, dissecting and reattachements, he offered me this:
"sometimes you simply have to take a leap of faith."
were he in front of me at the time he offered that thought, i'd have laughed in his face at the irony. a man who failed to step off the edge with me years ago was telling me it was time for me to forego dipping my toes in and take a gigantic belly-flopping dive into the unknown.
"interesting advice coming from a man who still lives near the home he grew up in, won't tell his girlfriend he loves her and is scared of being a father yet talks with such longing about wanting a child," i countered, questioning his credentials to council such a thing.
"that's just it...you don't see that?" he replied. "fear of failing or of not being loved back keeps us from just letting go and trying something. we only want the rewards brought about by a change if we can receive them with no effort."
if you explore 'leap of faith' online, you'll be bombarded with topics, most of which revolve purely around taking risks in business or finding peace in whatever deity you wish to worship. there are no instructions on stepping out and letting go, on how to cast all your wishes out there for whatever reward is meant to be. it seems sometimes rather cliche to say you're taking a leap of faith when that phrase can be applied to anything ranging from merging multi-billion dollar companies to sampling a brussel sprout to see if you like it.
the more he and i talked, the more we agreed we were both guilty of not bending our knees, offering up some kind of prayer and taking that bounding leap into the unknown in our respective lives ("look how long it took me to even tell you i loved you, even though i knew that was hardly a risk," he said). that's what i think taking a leap of faith truly is. something unknown and very risky. it's being willing to make a change from the 'comfortable familiar,' even if we dislike the comfortable. have i ever taken any leaps? honestly? i don't know. i can't seem to think of a time when i felt i was standing on the edge of something major, all the while sucking in air just to survive the idea as i questioned myself and tried to talk myself into it.
and i can see that as both good and bad, really. ok, maybe it's complacent or lacking in the ability to take that first step toward change.
but for now, i suppose, until i can answer all the questions that must be answered the next time i'm asked how things are...really, you'll most likely find me a bit toward the back, toes quite dry.