In the comments to this post, Barbara/therextras asked if it was JoyMama jumping off the bridge in JoyMama's profile picture. Here's the picture:
I responded with a question of my own: "You don't think I'd marry a woman who would fling herself untethered off a bridge, do you???? Well??????"
There are a number of possible answers to the question:
1. It's not JoyMama, so therefore the answer is no, I wouldn't marry a woman who would fling herself untethered off a bridge.
2. Yes, it's JoyMama. I had no idea when we got married that she would do such a thing, and I'm shocked, SHOCKED that she would put herself at such great personal risk. It reflects badly on her as a person and sets a terrible example for Joy and Rose. For I would never do such a thing…
3. Yes, it's JoyMama. She made the leap before we were married when she was young and foolish. As part of our wedding vows, she swore off such desperate acts of thrill seeking, promising to be the sedate librarian from a small town in Kansas I always hoped to marry.
4. Yes, it's JoyMama. In fact, I was the photographer. Which means I stood by, nay, encouraged her to fling herself off the bridge to meet an uncertain fate. It reflects badly on me that I would allow her to put herself in such peril and not do anything to try to stop her.
What exactly is a leap of faith anyway? In common parlance it means believing in something despite, or in the absence of, any available evidence.
Marriage is quite the leap of faith, isn't it? We vetted each other by dating for a year and then spending a year as an engaged couple. But forever is an awful long time to commit oneself to another. In essence, we based a decision on how to order the rest of our lives on a small slice of time compared to how long we were planning on being together. Thankfully, neither of us got cold feet before our wedding day, and at least so far, almost 15 years in, our faith in each other and in the decision to combine our lives has been rewarded. I mean, look at those pictures of the girls in their pretty flower girl dresses -- it amazes me every day how richly blessed we are to have them.
I guess having kids entails a leap of faith as well. There's no crystal ball you can look into to see how they will turn out. Certainly, we wish Joy didn't have to contend with autism or epilepsy, or that our family didn't have to deal with the fallout from those conditions. But if I'd had a crystal ball to gaze into before Joy was born, it would have shown me that despite all of that, raising Joy would turn out to be a wonderful experience. I tell people all the time that despite the struggles and challenges of raising Joy, we ain't giving her back. In fact, because it is a such a challenge, I think the successes we have with Joy (like seeing her becoming more interactive with people, as she has lately) are that much more rewarding.
Oh yeah, the picture... That is indeed JoyMama taking the plunge. And I am the photographer. We had already been married for a while at the time. It's not quite the leap of faith it might have been... We were camping at Baxter State Park in Maine. On one of our first days there, we were hiking near our campsite and came upon the bridge in the photo. There was a group of people swimming in the river, and a number of them were also jumping off the bridge. And not perishing... There was deep spot on one side of the bridge which made jumping off relatively safe. It was quite a refreshing way to end a day of hiking up and down mountains.
And I, of course, took my own turns leaping....