One day, I came across one of the world’s most breathtaking leaps of faith. It was an ancient spiritual ritual in the form of a spectacular dance high in the air. The “dance” was performed by the Voladores de Papantla, or flyers of Mexico.
While I hold my breath, four voladores climb a 150-foot pole. They tie their ankles to ropes wound around bars on a spinning platform at the top of the pole. Then they jump off. They “fly” gracefully around and around and down as the ropes unwind, until they finally touch the ground. While I watch their performance, I wonder . . . Is it possible to leap into life like the voladores, to let go of all our self-imposed boundaries and feel limitless? A while ago, another leap of faith is performed right before our own eyes. In Amsterdam, our son Gideon decides it’s his time to fly, to test the boundaries of who he is and what his limits are. He’s only nine years old.
For years I’ve always quickened my pace and looked the other way whenever I walk by this dangerous attraction of his in the middle of the city. I couldn’t believe anyone would put his or her life at risk for this ten-minute ride. However our son’s dream is stronger than my will.
In fact, I can’t hold him back. Steadily, he climbs into the ride, which is called the Big Bungee Chair. The seat is tied to a cord that will spiral him around and down, just like the voladores.
To me, this ride is not for children. For sure, Gideon’s life will dangle on a thin thread as he flies. Indeed, he barely makes the cut when they check his height. How dare they let him do this? But I don’t stop him either. While we hold our breath, Gideon takes his seat. People gather around us to watch my son’s take-off. After one last wave, the seat falls and he flies like a voladoro above the Palace of Amsterdam. The crowd swells and everybody cheers. I am too afraid to watch. I must surrender to his dream.
When he lands on the ground, the audience gives him a big round of applause. I take in a deep breath of relief. Although Gideon smiles from ear to ear, I notice his face is ash-white. “Loved it,” is all he says. When I ask him how he did it he says: “You just do it.”
Do you have a leap in mind? Just do it.