Last week, my fiancee and I visited a place called Rock City. It’s a town built on top of a mountain right on the border of Tennessee and Georgia. At the peak of this mountain there is a place called Lover’s Leap where you can see all the way to seven different states… Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, North Carolina, South Carolina, Kentucky, and Virginia. In this picture, Sara is standing in front of the Great Smoky Mountains (Tenn.) and Pinnacle Mountain (KY/VA).
The term Lover’s Leap represents an isolated location where you risk a fatal fall if you jump, and they are all over the United States and the world. The naming is for the romantic notion that if one person jumps or accidentally falls off the cliff, his or her lover will not be far behind. Hence, they both die in a blaze of glory.
But while the romantic nature of the story is still there in the 21st century, the practicality is not. We’re living in a society of safety and technology, and there are very few mountains left to heroically (or stupidly) jump from. While your love my die tragically, it’s far more likely to be at the hands of a car wreck than slipping at the highest peak of a mountain. So what does a Lover’s Leap look like these days?
Is it sacrifice? As in, sacrificing your time and energy for the one you love? In a society that values freedom and independence, even inside of relationships, even that is a tough sell. Anyway, letting the one you love hang out with friends isn’t considered romantic so much as it’s considered not being a jerk. I suppose you could be willing to die for your lover, but even then there are remarkably few situations in which you would need to do that.
No, I believe the true Lover’s Leap is being able to plunge yourself deep into the emotions of another. To face the darkness and fear in each other’s hearts and emerge out the other side victorious. To truly understand, hand in hand, what each other is feeling when nobody else can. To conquer heartache, loss, change, and depression together. To not blockade the full force of emotions by suggesting solutions that can “just fix it.” And while you may not die on this Lover’s Leap, you may end up helping the other person live just a little better and find joy instead of helplessness.