By: Sara King
He knows how to jump. He may not really know how to count or form full sentences yet, but Benton knows how to jump. Even though I've seen him successfully land jump after jump, a lump still gathers in my throat from fear that something will end up hurt or bumped a little too hard this time. I cannot keep myself from having a quiet, inner response while watching his every move as he reaches the peak of the climb and makes his quick descent all in one swoop. Although I watch him with caution, I trust he can land safely. I love this trust that we, the onlookers, have developed in his ability to do his thing. And I think he loves it, too.
It is not that Benton is solely thinking about his next move so much as it is he is learning from the repetition of all the previous jumps. He knows his feet should be ever so close to the edge but not close enough to pull him forward before he's ready. He leads with his feet, only to make sure it's his little diapered bottom that catches the weight of the fall. For those moments when the unpleasant shock of the landing occurs, his face changes into a sad scowl and his slight cry ensues for a moment until he rolls back up onto his feet and climbs onward.
It's his bravery to jump that incites my wonder at his own wondering, but the secret to his magic is in the climbing. It's easy to look down and respond to the jump immediately before us, but the real quest is in the climb that we've take to get to where we are. Benton decides how high his drop will be long before he's looking at the brink. He chooses his challenge during his ascent and how far he climbs is based on how high he flew the last time or, on occasion, how high his big sister is jumping.
In all of this process, which can last between 5 to 45 minutes, it makes me question my own climb that led me to the edge I'm now standing on. Whether it is in my career, relationships, dreams, or the matters with which I wrestle, I'm inspired to think like Benton. I'm encouraged to remember how far I climbed, how I handled the plunge, and from there, how to aim higher. All along the way, learning to make my moves calculated and reminding my heart to be steadfast in courage with full awareness of the risks and possible bumps ahead. When the hard falls come, there's no harm in crying from the hurt. The danger is if we quit climbing altogether.
May we climb on like my buddy Benton, filled with audacity and self-confidence. May we climb together with hope for each others' journeys and trust in each others' flourishing abilities.