dating

Jump

cliff-jumping

Blind dates are kind of like cliff jumping.

I’ve done the online dating thing off and on for a few years and I basically hate it. I mean, I know there’s no one with a gun to my head telling me to go on eHarmony or suffer the consequences. But sometimes I feel like, “Why not? Why not just try?” I am curious enough about it to be uncomfortable.

And sometimes Jesus does things in me and around me that make me uncomfortable.

I hate the feeling of not being in control, of the unknown, and I’ll be darned if that’s the very thing that happens when you choose to meet people you’ve interacted with online. You see a person you like, chat for a little bit and decide to meet, because what if that guy looks all fun holding his niece in that picture but really has a third ear? Meeting a stranger who you might want to date is just part of the deal.

But the anticipation of going on a blind date feels like walking very closely to the edge of a cliff.

It reminds me of when we used to jump off the cliffs at Smith Mountain Lake when I was a teenager. I hated it because I’m afraid of heights, but I loved it too. I knew I couldn’t just sit in the boat watching other people jump, always wondering what it’d be like. I’m sure there are plenty of people who think, “Oh no, that’s crazy, I never want to do that.” They are perfectly content cheering on others from the safety of the boat. I agree that it is somewhat senseless, but I always wanted to do it just enough to be uncomfortable.

When I’d finally work up the courage, I’d get out of the boat, swim to the rocks and start climbing. Once at the top, I’d look down and be almost paralyzed with fear. Why did the cliffs seem so much higher from up here, the water so much further away, the boat so small? But I knew I had to jump. What was the alternative? Climbing back down? I’m sure no one would have faulted me for changing my mind, seeing that some of them would still agree that it’s crazy to want to jump in the first place.

I would stand there, knees knocking, heart pounding, thinking about all the things that could go wrong: What if I don’t jump out far enough and hit the rocks on the way down? What if I land strangely and it hurts like hell? What if I…die?! (Ok, that last one might be a bit dramatic, but I’m pretty sure it made an appearance on the list)

But eventually I would take a deep breath and take the leap. When I finally stepped out and fell to the water, it was exhilarating. The water would catch me, cool and refreshing, and I would bob right back up to the surface after plunging below. And I would be smiling.

Sometimes I’m not always smiling after a blind date, but I’m always glad I took the leap. Because afterwards I have a more complete, albeit still imperfect, picture of a person and can move forward from there.

I imagine sweet Jesus as the calm water waiting below, cool and refreshing, waiting to catch me.

He’s the friend that turns to me, grabs my hand, smiles and jumps with me.

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