Taking a Leap of Faith

Marisa Etzell - Ecuador


September 3, 2015

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Note: This is a picture of my dad jumping into Crater Lake. I did NOT jump off, I was the photographer.

Earlier this summer, my family spent time camping in Oregon. While there, we hiked Cleetwood trail, which led us to Crater Lake. We found a nice area to stop for lunch and I watched as people around us walked up to the highest point of rocks around the rim of the lake and peered over the edge into the abyss below. It was interesting to sit back and observe everyone’s reactions. Each person had a unique response to the challenge ahead of them. Several people got up there and realized how afraid of heights they were and decided not to jump off. Others stood boldly at the top before plunging into the cold water below. The most common reaction, however,  was fear of the unknown.

“I can’t do it”

“I’m scared”

“What if I die”

Many of these same thoughts crossed my mind as I was contemplating the idea of traveling to an unfamiliar place with strange odors, new foods, and different lifestyles. I was afraid of being unable to communicate with people and getting sick. A mixture of thoughts and emotions were swirling around in my head and it was difficult to process them. Yet the moment when someone lets go of their fear and accepts the unknown is when a person grows the most. Similar to the people jumping off the rocks into the lake, I am taking a leap of faith by deciding to do a bridge year. I could have easily chosen to take the typical route and go straight from high school to college. But I chose to take a different path, a path that will ultimately lead to a deeper understanding of the world and my purpose in it. So here’s to the next 8 months in Ecuador!

Marisa Etzell