Standing at the edge, we have myriad reasons not to jump, but only one to jump.
Because we choose to.
Leap of faith is a concept commonly attributed to Søren Kierkegaard, a Danish philosopher, theologian, and poet who is considered the father of existentialism. Kierkegaard’s leap describes a state where a person is faced with a choice that cannot be justified rationally, and therefore must take the leap stemmed from faith, instead of logic.
How many times have we stood on an edge and failed to take the leap?
We have an incredible idea for a new business. But the competition is too fierce, we have no entrepreneurial experience, or we need more time to perfect the idea with a comprehensive business plan laying out each step ahead of us.
We finally meet someone who cares about us, understands us, and shares our values. But our age gap does not seem socially appropriate, I do not get along with his mother, or she makes annoying sound when she eats.
We desire to nurture a new life. But we are afraid of a mountain of work, overwhelming responsibilities and failing not only ourselves but also our children.
In the face of fear, we turn around, and walk back to our comfort zone. Life goes on. Every now and then, we find ourselves back at the edge again, debating the same decision, but only less frequently. Given sufficient time, we would eventually forget about the cliff, let alone the leap.
Do we ever wonder how life could have been had we taken more leaps? Or just that one leap that matters?
When we turn our back on the cliff, we are safe; but we also renounce the possibility of unleashing our potential, of adventure and exploration, of love and intimacy and ultimately of a fulfilled life. We will never find out what we are made of, for real.
Martin Luther King Jr urges us forward, “Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”
To trust is to act out of faith, not out of evidence.
To trust is to look forward, not backward.
To trust is to have courage: the courage to take the leap knowing that we might fall, fail, and get hurt; and the same courage to learn, to heal and to get back up.
As Franz Kafka said, “Don’t bend. Don’t water down. Don’t try to make it logical. Rather follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly.”
Give yourself over completely.