When John F. Kennedy became the president of America, I was ten (and very impressionable). My mother told me that he and Jackie Kennedy had honeymooned in Acapulco, Mexico, and among other things, they’d watched men diving off steep cliffs into the Pacific Ocean. Somehow the glamor and mystique of their experiences became bigger than life in my imagination, and ever after I thought it would be exciting to visit Acapulco. In honor of our forty-fifth anniversary, Alan took me on a cruise through the Panama Canal, and we enjoyed touring Acapulco…a bit of a dream come true! Acapulco is an incredibly beautiful city, which caught me by surprise, because in recent years, its had such a bad reputation for being unsafe that most cruise ships won’t stop there, and I thought it was burned out and run down. No so! However, the military police presence (to subdue gang warfare) is intimidating.Israel and Palestine are the only countries I’ve ever visited that are more heavily guarded. There, a soldier with a machine gun got on our bus to check us out! All this to say, I wouldn’t recommend hitch-hiking down to Acapulco on a whim or wandering about on your own, but we loved our guided tour of the area. Our guide took us to El Mirador, the hotel which overlooks La Quebrada Cliffs. Since the La Quebrada Cliff Divers attained recognition as one of the world’s extreme sports in the 1970’s, they’ve become international “stars,” popular with tourists and highly regarded by professional high divers worldwide. Several times a day, these brave and daring young men scramble barefoot up the sides of the cliff and dive into the deep, blue sea below. Once they’re at the top, they have to get their courage up to plunge down, down,
down to the sea from as high as 137 feet…an unbelievably long way to dive! I was reassured to learn that although many of the young men do suffer broken bones, it’s my understanding that none of them has ever died diving here. How do they do survive? Well, many of the divers are sons of previous performers who start very young and spend years learning from their fathers, diving off lower points on La Quebrada Cliffs and practicing how to jump from higher and higher points. As I watched the divers, I couldn’t help but think of my own six sons—and the many “high divers” out there…perhaps you included! It takes years of inspiration, hard work, training, and lots of bumps and bruises along the way to accomplish those amazing feats that sometimes feel like jumping off a cliff. One of our tour guides on the trip was Armando, who’s about our age and was a cliff diver when he was young. He said a little sadly that he is the only one of his cohort who is still alive. I asked him if he had any thoughts on why he was still alive, and he said, “I married my wife at 4:30 pm on April 12, 1975, and from that day to this, I’ve been faithful to her. I also stayed away from alcohol, drugs, and crime. You gotta live clean and stay healthy if you want to live a long life.” Amen? Amen!
Do you ever feel like you’re climbing mountains and jumping off cliffs for Jesus? If so, here are some encouraging words for you: “Love the Lord, all you his saints! The Lord preserves the faithful but abundantly repays the one who acts in pride. Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord!” (Psalm 31:23-24, ESV).