After I quit my job with no definitive plan a few weeks ago, my dearest friend sent me a card that had been hanging in her office for quite awhile: “Leap . . . and the net will appear.”
Of course, I know this Zen saying, and I have always been suspicious of it. All fine and well for my friend to believe it and pass it on, seeing as she has a solid career and has found love post-divorce. I seem to think my own net may not be as promising as hers; I envision myself poised at the edge of a cliff, peering down, and seeing the Divine has offered to me, no surprise, a net the size of the one I catch my single goldfish in when I clean its bowl–just like in It’s a Wonderful Life when George Bailey says to his fuddy-duddy guardian angel, Clarence, “You look about like the kind of angel I’d get.”
To be fair, the last big leap I took was deciding, after 6 agonizing years of contemplation, to file for divorce. I certainly had flashes of fear that convinced me I’d end up living in my car or with my mother. Instead, I live comfortably in the house of my marriage and my mother lived with me briefly.
There were many other leaps in the 5 years since then, I suppose, in my dating life. My motto used to be, “Why not?” Now, I’ve come to the point where the question is, “Why?” The last man I dated, quite handsome, stylish, and charismatic, came on hot and heavy and then literally disappeared after 2 weeks. I’m both proud and ashamed to say that his “ghosting” only elicited a shrug of my shoulders and an, “Oh, well.” Long story short, I don’t think leaping into relationships is wise or fruitful. There is no net for blind optimism or total impulsiveness. I digress.
I hung my friend’s card above the light switch in my office. Truly, I do love the idea. But as I’ve thought about it, I kinda want a different kind of net.
Stick with me, and you’ll see I’m a spiritual mutt. I think outside the box, especially when it comes to checking a box to label my religious affiliation. I grew up Evangelical Christian, married a hard-core Catholic, and adopted strands of Buddhism and Hinduism more recently. To me, it’s a glorious stew. Anyway, I dreamed of being in a boat, like the disciples when they were fishing all night with no results (John 21). Jesus appears, and I don’t recognize him. He tells me to drop in my net once again, and when I pull it up, it is bursting.
“Leap and the net will appear” is a story of brashness and bravery. When the students of Jesus drop their nets to the right, the net is so full that it can’t be drawn in. And you know what? The net doesn’t even rip with its overload. This vision calls for relentless belief in my own tools and capabilities, does it not?
I want that net.