Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Wednesday Photo Blogging: Leap of Faith

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:

Leap of Faith

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....

10 comments:

JoyMama said...

Many thanks to my husband, photographer and partner in bridge-leaping! This camping trip was about a decade ago, pre-digital-camera. This was the one and only attempt at a leaping photo, partly because after the first leap for each of us, we were too soaked to be operating the camera. We had no idea what the image would look like until the film was developed after the trip.

I'd post photos of the time I learned to eat fire, too, but I couldn't find them! So the world will just have to do without.

therextras said...

I knew it! LOL

Thanks, JD!

Excuse me while I go look for those photos of me taming a lion...right, JM, uh, huh.

Barbara

Auntie said...

And, of course, none of JoyDad's family knew anything about this crazy, daring, outlandish idea of jumping from bridges before JoyDad married JoyMama!! I wonder if we would have thought differently about welcoming such a wild and crazy woman into our family?? Ah....nope, not a chance! You fit right in, JoyMama! LOL!

AuntieS said...

Ooops, the name on my post should be "AuntieS"! I hit enter too soon!

JoyMama said...

Barbara - you don't believe me?!?!?! Oh, the humanity! (insert dramatic swoon here)

JoyDad will vouch for the fire-eating thing. He didn't try it himself on account of his flammable beard, but did witness the occasion. In fact, it was another family member of his, Auntie-Run-at-the-Mouth, who gave me the fire-eating lesson!

Eating fire is an easier do-it-yourself than lion-taming. It involves only common household objects, beginning with a straightened wire coat hanger for the torch...

Maybe I should take one more stab at finding those pics.

AuntieS - I do believe the fire-eating lesson gives the lie to the idea that I brought all the wild-n-crazy into the family... LOL!

Mama Mara said...

Definitely find those fire-eating photos, you wild woman!

Joydad, your post made me cry, in a good way. Joymama is lucky bridge-jumper indeed.

JoyDad said...

Oh yeah, the fire eating. I'd forgotten about that. And yes, I declined to participate on account of my facial hair. That and I'm a chicken.

I married a woman of many and varied talents... plate juggling, bridge leaping, fire eating... Did I forget any? If this librarian thing doesn't work out, at least she'll have a career in show biz to fall back on.

Mara, I had no idea this post would elicit such a strong response. I'm glad it moved you to tears, as long as they weren't tears of boredom....

therextras said...

Notice that I had no doubt about the bridge-jumping despite JD's tease that it might not be you.

Reminds me of a story....back when I faced 30-20-something graduate students daily to deliver my cumulated wisdom only to be told repeatedly that I wasn't teaching what they wanted to hear. Ahem. I would introduce the occasionally necessary apology by saying "Evidence of my humanity". Lion-like those students were.

Seeing is believing. I love cliché, and alliteration, and metaphor.

I think you should add a caption or required consumer warning "Do not try this at home." (Coat hangers do not belong in body orifices!)

At least you jumped the bridge feet first and with sandals on. When does Rose get her first lesson on fire eating? Oh, no. I now run the risk of JD accusing me of accusing him of.......

Ain't blogging great?! Would that we would have the written stories of our ancestors (hint on the meaning of my WW today).

Niksmom said...

Oh, sure, fine...didn't you guys listen to your parents when they asked "If all your friends were jumping off a bridge would you do it?" Sheesh...you two are a menace, that's what it is...an outright menace! (Sorry, couldn't type anymore with a straight face!) BIG WINK!

What a great story...and, um, yeeeeesssss, JM, we want to see the fire-ating pics for sure!

rhemashope said...

great post, JoyDad. i love your unity and the support you and JoyMama show each other. it encourages me in my own marriage. thanks!