The current of the Colorado River was life threatening all by itself. What made it even more menacing was the height of the dirt, rock, and loose sand towering far above the green river that had chosen the path of least resistance beside the rocks thousands of years before.
We weren’t looking for a history lesson, we were looking for a thrill. Some kids were participants and some were spectators. Looking back now, it’s apparent that all of us had different motivations for jumping off the cliffs from dizzying heights.
Some of my big brother’s friends nicknamed me “Fearless Floyd”, but I wasn’t fearless, I just learned how to act like I was.
There was a kid, I believe whose name was Jim, if my memory isn’t stumbling, who was a few years older than me. Jim had shoulder length hair, singed blonde on the edges by the searing Arizona sun like most of us. He was stocky, well built naturally.
What stood out the most about Jim was his absolute absence of common sense and fear. Most of us would stalk the edge of the sixty to eighty-foot cliffs like we were sneaking up on the rapid river below, but not Jim.
Jim would shed his t-shirt and meager affects twenty or thirty feet back from the edge upon his arrival. Then he’d turn and sprint like a madman possessed toward the edge of the cliffs and let out a “WOOOOO-HOOOOO!!!” as he launched himself into the arms of gravity.
Jim didn’t give a second thought to any boats that he wouldn’t be able to see until he was airborne. He knew the odds were in his favor… not to mention the additional juice he got out of rolling the dice with his young life.
I’m one of those firm believers that actions do the talking for us in this life and you can tell a lot about kids by watching them closely. Some of the other kids wouldn’t jump off the cliff that was known to everyone in town as “Suicide”.
They’d crawl like scared billy goats across the heaven on earth to conquer the smaller jumps into the heart-shocking drink. Others of us searched deep into our soul and guts to find just enough courage to face the mountain, gravity, and the Colorado River.
It’s peculiar how we’re all wired by God differently. I’m also fascinated with how often the actions taken in childhood depict the life and actions that lie ahead of a person.
Which cliff a person chooses, regardless of the reason, says everything about the life they’ll live… and where they’ll land.
It starts with perspective… then the approach.