Sometimes being a friend means mastering the art of timing. There is a time for silence. A time to let go and allow people to hurl themselves into their own destiny. And a time to prepare to pick up the pieces when it’s all over.
-Octavia E. Butler
My favorite perk of having different jobs, is the unique experience of getting to meet new people. The jobs I loved the most are the ones in which I was able to interact with my coworkers so much that we became friends. The jobs that I disliked the most were the ones in which I was isolated and alone
This past weekend I had the pleasure of organizing a trip to Yosemite. If you haven’t been, I highly recommend unplugging for a few days or a weekend and making the trek up to one of the most beautiful national parks I’ve ever seen.
Today at dinner, I talked with my roommate Aaron about how “Traveling is not so much about where you travel, but who you travel with.” This weekend I got to go with a group of friends who I made during my time at Chick-fil-A. I endearingly named ourselves “CFAM,” and I’ve made quite the effort to foster our friendships with each other. We’ve journeyed 100 miles to get tacos, we’ve risked our lives to get photos on potato chips, we’ve had a few spontaneous beach trips, and we’ve camped out at campsites with full cellular reception.This year we decided to level up, and we decided to go to Yosemite National Park.
“Traveling is not so much about where you travel, but who you travel with.”
As all event planners know, guest lists are so amorphous that sometimes you don’t know who’s going to be at an event until you are at the location. Some of the CFAM couldn’t make it, and some new friends could. We ended up with a group of six that shared an interest in music and nature and needless to say, we managed to have a concentrated amount of fun in less than 48 hours or so.
One of the most memorable moments happened at a location outside of the parks where a turnout in the road led to a little series of natural pools that had a waterfall as well as plenty of rocks to jump off of. We all followed the lead of our friend who had been to this place before and we prepared to jump feet first into the frigid water.
As we donned our swimming apparel, the apprehension and nervousness began to set in. We began to ask questions about the depth of the pool and where to jump. As we walked towards the pools and heard the echoing splashes of many a young child as well as old men we began to wonder if we would be able to follow through with this leap of faith.
Our fearless leader who had jumped off of these rocks since childhood climbed to the top of the 30 foot rock and bounded off without so much as a second glance.
The rest of us stared in disbelief as we stared over the edge.
When it was my time to jump, I looked over the edge and my brain screamed that this jump was not feasible. My body froze in terror as I realized the sheer height of the rock and the complete and utter lack of control I would have as I hung in midair.
After attempting to jump off of the rock for about five minutes, always ending up sitting back down to stare at the water, my friend Imon started counting to three. I realized in that moment that I couldn’t consciously decide to jump off of that rock. If I tried to wrestle with this idea in my head I would never jump. Everything in my head told me that this jump was not possible.
I did the head nod that males are so accustomed to, at my friend Imon, and without hesitation he knew that I needed help to make this jump. He restarted his count after saying “Ready?”
I leaned back against the rock and refused to look down as I mentally mustered every courageous fiber in my body.
I swallowed as I realized that once I left the solid security of the rock that I would be held accountable by the 9.8 m/sec^2 power of gravity.
My foot left the rock and all I could see was the water accelerating towards my body and all I could feel was gravity hurtling me downwards.
Sometimes in life, we climb to the top of our metaphorical 30 foot rock. We know what we need/want to do, but we can’t manage to persuade ourselves to follow through. Alone we struggle for hours, days, weeks, maybe even years trying to accomplish that which we believe we are unable to do. Ultimately, we logically persuade ourselves that we are much safer on the rock, so we stay there, even though we know deep down that we belong in midair hurtling towards our destination.
Sometimes, we need a brother, a sister, a friend, a parent, a significant other, or someone we just met, to help us to achieve that which we deem unachievable. We need someone to count us off. We need someone to push us. We need someone to hold our hand and jump with us.
We need community.
We need friends that can help us get out of our comfort zones so that we can make that leap into the identity that we were destined for.
You know what?
When we jump:
We might get bruised.
We might take longer than others do.
We might not get it right the first time.
We might not perform as well as we wanted to.
But in the end, it is better to take that leap of faith into the unknown rather than wasting our days on the safe and comfortable surface of our rock.
“We need friends that can help us get out of our comfort zones so that we can make that leap into the identity that we were destined for.”
Invest in those who are willing to push you to become a braver you.
Life is short, so don’t dawdle on the edge.