Friday, November 17, 2017

Column: Having faith in leaps big and small


A leap of faith is defined as an act, belief, or trust in something intangible or incapable of being proven. Recently, I took a leap of faith that was actually a physical leap into an open gorge about 500 feet above sea level.

It came during a vacation to California and a boat trip to Catalina Island. It is usual for tourist destinations to offer attractions and Catalina Island was no different. Among their attractions is the latest fad, a zip line. This one is called an eco-tour, reflecting the desire to maintain and improve the ecology of the island.

This zip line is in five runs which travel about 3,600 feet. The elevation starts at 500 feet above sea level and goes down to 60 feet. The speed that one zips along can get up to 45 mph and keep in mind that the rider is tethered to a metal cable far above the forest floor.

I was the sole rider from my party. They all went off to play miniature golf because they have issues with height. Not me. I walked to the starting point, handed over my ticket, stored my belongings and signed the paper work waiving my right to hold the tour operators responsible for my injuries, loss of limb and/ or death. Yes, a true leap of faith.

We were fitted with helmets, harnesses and a trolley that hooks onto the metal line on which we would ride. After a lesson on the do's and don'ts, we took a bus to the start of the line. This is where I truly met my leap of faith.

To start the ride, I had to step off into space trusting that my harness, trolley and the line were all going to keep me from being a human cow pie on the bottom of the gorge. I did it and the ride was fantastic. The person at the end of the line slowed down my ride and I landed safely. But I had four more leaps to take to complete the course. I did it, but I can still see the ground far below me as I took that one big step into space.

On my walk back to meet my fellow travelers, I thought this was the biggest leap I had ever taken, but then I realized I took big and little leaps every day. I took a huge leap more than 50 years ago when I said I would love and cherish for richer or poorer in sickness and health until death do us part. We took three huge leaps when we became parents.

I can remember a very large leap of faith when I brought our son home with his new driver's license and he drove off to show his friends his hot car.

If I think my marriage was a leap of faith, what about the three weddings of our children? Ten grandchildren later we are watching them taking their own leaps. This is a hard thing to do since you have no input.

We take big and small leaps all the time. Driving our cars, having surgery and ordering food are all leaps. The one word that means the most to me is the word "trust." In order to take a leap of faith we must have some trust that things will be okay. I had to trust the person at the end of the zip line would slow me down.

Now, I just have to trust that the deal we made for our new car was the best we could get. Sometimes you just have to take a leap of faith. It beats putting around on a miniature golf course.

Mary Partington lives in west Pasco.


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