With a blast of its whistle, the vintage locomotive shuddered to a stop along the tracks at the top of the bluff. The charming conductor tipped his hat and a grin spread beneath his handlebar mustache as he helped us down the stairs. We found ourselves in what felt like a scene straight out of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.
Deep River Landing stood below us on the riverbank. A cheery white-and-blue riverboat was moored at the end of the dock. As we made our way down the gangplank, the ragtime music playing over the speakers put a little pep in our steps. We shielded our eyes against the bright sunlight glinting off the Connecticut River and found seats on the third level of the Becky Thatcher.
We shoved off, and the swift current of the river carried us away from the landing and out into the beautiful river valley. Osprey soared from green hillsides to bring fish back to their nests. The massive stone walls of Gillette Castle peeked out from behind a stand of trees on the very top of the highest hill. I wondered what it would be like to stand in a turret window and look down, watching the riverboat meander upstream.
A sudden whoop and holler, followed by a splash and cheers, caught my attention, and I made my way over to the rail. On the far side of the river, a group of twelve- or thirteen-year-old boys was clinging to the hillside. One by one, the boys grabbed hold of a thick braided rope, looked to the heavens, and with a cry to rival Tarzan, leapt from the hill. Out over the river they would fly, patiently waiting until that final moment of maximum pendulum swing before releasing the rope and letting gravity deliver them into the cool waters with a splash. As the riverboat passengers erupted again into delighted cheers, the boys on the hill took a cheeky bow.
I applauded their adventurous spirit. I didn’t think I would have had the courage to jump. That hillside perch must feel even higher once you’re standing on the edge. I seriously doubted I would trust the rope and the branch to hold me. That cold water must feel a million miles away when you’re in the empty space between land and river. And they did it all with an audience. I would be afraid I’d do a belly flop, embarrassing myself in front of a boatload of strangers.
I made my way back to my seat, still pondering these things when God nudged me. He whispered to my heart and reminded me I had recently taken a big leap of faith, too. Just several months before, God had asked us to leave our home and our family for an unusual lifestyle that would take us far outside our comfort zone. We had sold our home and most of our belongings to join my husband on the road while he worked as a travel nurse.
Even though we didn’t yet understand how this new life would work, God had asked me to grab ahold of his hand and jump into the unknown. And even though I was more than a little afraid I’d do a belly flop in front of all our friends and family watching this journey unfold, I jumped…
I would love to invite you to click through to finish reading this post. We talk about what God shows us once we leave the solid ground of what’s familiar. When we find ourselves suspended in that space between what was and what’s to come. The “not yet” can stretch on indefinitely and can be more than a little scary. I hope you’ll join us at The Glorious Table here: https://theglorioustable.com/2021/10/devotional-take-the-leap-of-faith/