Libby Rea offers the fourth guest essay on readers’ most courageous moments. (Click for contest details and to submit your own entry.) Remember that one iPod nano goes to the winner of the essay contest, and the second to a commenter at random, so add your thoughts after you’ve read what Libby has to say.

Libby Rea

Gutsy. That’s the word I would use to describe the one thing in my short years I’ve been on this planet that was the slightest bit courageous. I’d never forget it.

It all started when my family pulled up into the campsite of pretty much the whole maternal side of my family. It was that time in your life folks, the one and only. Family reunion. We all get out of the car, stiff-legged, some more anxious than others. My sister just kind of sits there until my dad tells her to get out.

I run up to my cousin and her friend. “Hey Larissa!” She was the only family member who was even close to my age. Luckily, we get along together fairly well, and it wasn’t a problem seeing her.

She immediately steppes forward and says, “Wanna see something cool?” in a casual low voice, like I’d been there for hours, not seconds.

I blink a few times, and reply, “Sure?” Larissa and her friend surge forward, without a single glance back in her mom’s direction. “Hey Aunt Deb!” I call, while high-tailing it out there, “We’ll be back!” She nods, and goes back to chatting with my mom.

It felt like we walked for ages through the campsite. Finally, we stop at a bush, with a small gap in the middle. “There it is.” The friend of Rissa’s points.

I nod like I understand how awesome this is, and say, “Wow. That is so cool. So, what’s your name?”

“Oh!” She shook her curly hair, and said, “I’m CeeCee, Larissa’s Best Friend.” Like it was a big deal or something. She looks over at Rissa to confirm and Rissa nods.

“Okay then….. Wanna go back?” I suggest, my stomach pains growing stronger each second we stayed here dawdling.

They laugh, and go through the bush, leaving me gaping. ‘Should I? Or should I not?’ That was the question of the hour.

I decide to stick with them, mostly because I have no clue where I am right now.

Behind the dense wall of shrub, I here laughter, and water lapping across a rock repeatedly. ‘A beach!’ I think, and race towards the sound. As I bust out of the “forest”, I see Larissa sitting on a boulder, legs dangling. “We call it the Rock.” CeeCee says proudly.

“How original…” I mutter, and cross over to them. Below us is a sea of blue, and huge boulders outline my vision. “This is amazing!” I shout, and my voice bounces off the valley. “I know, right?” She says. “The only problem is, we want to jump in.”

I cock my head. “So? Jump in.”

Larissa sighs loudly, “God Libby. We don’t know how deep it is.”


I walk up to the edge, and peer down. “How about I jump off and then you guys come?” Easier said than done.

They give me a thumbs- up. “We promise.” Larissa says solemnly.

“Wait.” CeeCee declares, “What if it’s like, 5 feet deep?”

I shrug. “Then we’ll see.” I step to the very edge, and look down.

And immediately look back up. ‘Oh boy’. What had I gotten myself into? Me and my big mouth.

I can hear impatient whisper behind me. “Is she gonna do it?”, then, “God! Hurry up!”

My body shakes from the toes way up to my hand. I squeeze my eyes shut.

And jump.

I’m suspended into thin air for seconds, then I fall into the water. My feet touch nothing. A soft sigh escapes me, relieved from the burden of my stupidity.

My head pops up. “Come on in! It’s great!” I shout. It takes some coaxing, but I finally get them to come in.

So there you have it. The most courageous thing I’ve done was on a borderline between thoughtless, and crazy. But I didn’t care. The feeling of the wind on my feet, rushing down was amazing, and those girls looked up to me in awe and respect after that.

The question I get asked most frequently is, “Was it worth it? Was it worth getting scared half to death, and jumping to your possible eminent doom?”

My answer: “Heck yea.”

Is this full-on courage or just plain crazy? Add your comment to be automatically entered in the iPod nano giveaway, and see the previous entries here.

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