I remember as a child, Grandmama Bittle would sometimes take us up to Cheaha State Park where we would spend the day swimming, running around, having lunch then coming home. i used to think that park was 100 miles away from the house. It would take forever to get there. That winding mountain road would sometimes get us sick in the car before we got there, oh but when you pulled up you thought you were at the greatest, largest place around. Realistically, we were only about 10 mile from my house. That lake that was so large, really wasn’t that big at all, oh, and that sandy beach that was a beautiful as Panama City…yea, well, ok it was a dirt and sand mix.
But, it was a great place to be! Generally, we would have all the cousins with us and we would spend the day there. There was this diving dock that had two levels of diving. One was just above the water, you know, a normal diving board.
Then there was the HIGH dive.
I believe it was at least 125 feet to the top….well when you are 10 thats what it felt like. I really don’t remember how tall it was, (maybe some my Munford friends could tell me) all I know is to this short, skinny kid, it was a LONG way to the top.
I remember the first time going out to that dock…My cousin Russell and I swam out to it. (it took an hour) (remember I was 10 and everything was BIGGER)) climbed up on it and began diving off the small board.
No problem…piece of cake!
Crazy Dives, biggest splash, smallest splash (that was me!) a whole lot of fun was wrapped up in that day.
We would watch the big kids jump off that high dive…they were so cool! Some would go head first, then others would just be jumping in!
Russell: Let’s do it! Let’s go off the high dive!
Russell: come on, it will be fun.
Me: (thinking in my head) how is jumping off this board and falling and hitting the water fun?)
It was then, Russell pull out the old phrase that infuriated EVERY male child….”Chicken!!!!”
I began to think…”I’ll show you”…I ran up that ladder and got to the top! I looked and he was still at the bottom, “Get up here” I called out to him! “If I am going to die you are too!!!”
He came up and we were trying to see who would go first.
Me: You’re older
Him: You’re younger
Me: You swim better than me…(that was debatable)
Him: You go first and if you don’t come up, I will come and get you!!!
Me: Ok. (what was I thinking!)
So if I am going to do this I am going to do this right! I walked to the edge of the board. Held my arms out like an olympic diver (or one of those fancy cliff divers you would see on ABC Wild World of Sports), I then walked back, turned and ran to the edge and leaping off the end, I gave my best Johnny Weismeuller Tarzan yell: “AHHHHHEEEEAAAA” !!!!
Into the water I went, I think I was under the water for a couple of days, thinking I will never get back to the top. When I got back to the top, I remember two things.
- Gasping for precious air,
- The view of my cousin Russell coming in right beside me.
He came up like I did gasping for that precious air! We thought…we did it! We are now expert divers…(well jumpers). We probably jumped off that board 50 more times that day, each time being Superman or Batman or Tarzan!
We conquered a fear…
I tell this story to say there are fears in your life that will be far more stressful that jumping off a diving board.
But you should never have to conquer your fears alone.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you.
For I am the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
God is there…
So am I!