Unexpected Happiness

A Leap of FaithA jilted bride finds unexpected happiness in her life’s new direction, after taking a plunge of a different kind

By Kimberley Jordan

Aug. 15, 1998, was supposed to be my wedding day. Instead, after I was “left at the altar,” so to speak, it became the day I conquered my fears and took a literal plunge of an entirely different sort. And although I didn’t realize it at the time, that leap not only helped turn around what otherwise would have been a bummer of a day, it also heralded a symbolic leap of faith into an entirely new and fulfilling life that I never could have imagined.

“Joe” and I had dated for more than five years. After all of our friends started getting married and bombarding us with their bridal bouquets and garters during their wedding receptions, he and I got engaged. It was mid-April, and the big day was scheduled for just four months later. We had it all planned out, from my leaving my job of nine years to giving up my apartment to move to Joe’s town two hours away, all in the short time before the wedding.

Everything proceeded as planned – until the evening Joe arrived for premarital counseling just three weeks before the wedding. He stunned both the preacher and me by announcing he “couldn’t go through with it.” That’s all; no explanation was forthcoming.

The next days and weeks were a blur. I was an emotional mess as I tried to make sense of what had happened and why, listening in a daze as my mom canceled all the arrangements and tried to explain to the wedding party something that to us was inexplicable. I was at a loss for what to do now that the life I had thought I would have had fallen apart. And the worst part was that I didn’t know who to call on to help me figure it out – the man I had considered my best friend had just pulled a baffling disappearing act.

As the canceled wedding date approached, I was no closer to getting myself together than I was to learning why Joe had gotten cold feet. I decided I needed to turn Aug. 15 into a day I would remember for positive reasons; hence, early that morning, I found myself perched on the edge of a plane at 13,000 feet, strapped into a parachute. To say I was petrified is a massive understatement, but the sense of exhilaration once I made that leap is indescribable. As I drifted back down to earth (no, I didn’t jump in the wedding dress), I was overwhelmed with peace and excitement at the realization that I had my whole life ahead of me – and the freedom to turn it into whatever I wanted.

My entire life, I had dreamed of living in New York City, but I’d pretty much decided that taking a bite out of the Big Apple likely was more than a small-town Southern girl like me could chew. But not anymore – within a few weeks of the skydiving trip, I had lined up job interviews and traveled to Manhattan, accepted a position at double the salary I’d made at my previous job, and made the move. Now, that’ll lift sagging spirits . . . .

The six years I spent in New York were filled with amazing experiences, from a rewarding career to worldwide travel and adventure, dinners and parties with acclaimed artists and celebrities, and an eclectic group of friends from all walks of life. That experience led me to open my own consulting business, a dream I never would have thought possible.

My life is good; my days are balanced with fulfilling work and volunteering, good times with family and friends, and still plenty of travel and adventure. Best of all, I’m sharing it all with a wonderful man with whom I have built a strong and happy relationship.

I learned a lot from taking that initial, fateful leap of faith. I learned that within me exists the will not just to survive difficult and scary times, but also to thrive. And I learned that in life, when one door closes, as the proverbial saying goes, another one will surely open onto endless possibilities. Sometimes you just need to be willing to take the plunge.