I have been defiant all my life…okay, no one clench their heart and fake surprise…I have a brain and I like to use it…well….sometimes. This weekend was obviously not one of those times, because I did something that a lot of my friends would consider quite stupid but none the less, defiant as well. Most but not all. The friend I did it for beamed with pride and that’s all I needed.
This particular friend (in the interest of his privacy I’ll just refer to him as Boss Man) was the passenger in a horrific car accident May 30th, 1999 that left him a quadriplegic. He calls May 30 “I’m Happy I’m Still Here Day”. He speaks of how he felt that day, playing baseball with his friends, and how the crash that evening changed his life forever. He speaks of troubles in the first year that made him wish he were dead. Then Boss Man speaks of how he experienced the many firsts that came after, things we take for granted on a day to day basis. Things like sitting up for four consecutive hours and being able to feed himself with a spoon. Things that some of us will never experience, like going on a date as (his words) an unsure gimp instead of a cocky upright or holding his newborn twins for the fist time and understanding the true meaning of unconditional love (he knows I understand that one).
Boss Man has learned to appreciate the firsts in his life. He turned tragedy into victory and this weekend he challenged all his friends to find a first for themselves, to experience life to the fullest because life is a gift…and a fragile one at that. I pondered what I could do to honour his love for life…at 49 years of age, I felt that most of my firsts were behind me. Well, it came to me the morning of Saturday, May 31st, and one of the first things I did was turn on my computer and search “Bungy Jumping Vancouver Island”. As it turned out, there’s a park not far from where I live that provides that very service!
So I showered and booted myself out the door and headed straight for Wild Play Element Park just south of Nanaimo, British Columbia. I had the top down on the car and Rob Zombie blasting out of the speakers. Within half an hour of my arrival, I was on the bridge, looking down at the Nanaimo river with an elastic band (a big one) strapped to my ankles. I wondered for a moment if I should have worn a belt to keep my shorts up (or an adult diaper to keep myself from filling them). With Rob Zombie in my head I penguin stepped my way to the edge.
I felt no fear on that precipice, only excitement! The staff member who bound me, told me to hold my hands out and go when I was ready. I was ready and didn’t hesitate one moment before letting myself fall. I screamed the whole way down! The water seemingly coming up to meet me, the wind blowing back my hair, then the jerk of the bungee carrying me back up before falling again. When the bungee finally stilled, I spun at the end of it, my head spinning with my body until I was eventually lowered to the raft waiting below. It was an incredible and exhilarating experience! An experience and the reason for doing it that I won’t forget for the rest of my life (or at least until dementia sets in).
I sent a text to Boss Man shortly after, telling him what I had chose to do. I never would have thought to do it if not for his suggestion to try a new ‘first’ and I thanked him for it. It’s the people in our lives that make us who we are. They gives us hope and strength to defy the humdrum and experience life to the fullest. Yes, this weekend I was Defiance in the most glorious manner…and it was Divine!