A first timer, I chose the recommended “tandem jump”…fastened to an expert skydiver with a parachute.
Only afterward did the spiritual implications of the event dawn on me.
Lesson 1: Faith required. Within minutes of meeting my instructor, I entrusted my life to him, a total stranger. How crazy is that?
Faith involves knowing, believing and then trusting. I knew he was an instructor, I believed he was qualified, and I trusted him to fasten me to him. From that point forward, it was his responsibility.
Lesson 2: Listen to His Voice. I hung on my expert instructor’s every word as I quickly realized that my life was literally in his hands. “You’ll see other instructors giving directions to their partners,” he explained. “I am your partner. I do things differently than others. Listen only to me and you’ll be fine.”
I was all ears.
Lesson 3: Obey without reservation. It was all fun and games while I was on the ground, but when the plane door opened at 14,000 feet, reality hit like a train.
WHAT THE HECK WAS I THINKING? WHAT ABOUT THIS KAMIKAZE MOMENT HAD I THOUGHT WOULD BE FUN???
Suddenly, the duo in front of me moved to the open door and was gone…just like that! Immediately my instructor to whom I was tightly hooked began nudging me forward from behind.
Ninja Turtle Man pushed me forward again, more forcefully.
I wanted to talk about it. I wanted to review the instruction points. Actually, I wanted out! And not the way out he was pushing me. This was a bad idea, I now thought. Let’s just land, have a cup of hot chocolate and watch the other fools jump, OK?
The nudging became even more forceful. I didn’t like being fastened to him anymore. I didn’t like where he was headed. Holy cow, this was dangerous! Maybe I could reason with him, I thought, as I dug my shoes into the floor of the plane.
But the engine’s roar and rush of air prohibited negotiation.
Talkin’ time was ovah! Oh, &$#*! It was time to jump.
I gave up resisting and next, was hurtling through space at 120 mph!
There comes a time when we stop talking about our plans… and just do it.
Lesson 4: The view is worth the jump. Just when I thought my ears would explode, my cheeks flap off my face and my heart thump out of my chest, my guide pulled the ripcord. The deafening roar of air past my ears suddenly vanished, plummeting gave way to floating, and I was engulfed in silence, peace and a stunning panoramic view of beautiful countryside. I heard myself sincerely thanking the same person I’d resisted just moments before!
As soon as the parachute opened, however, he said calmly, “Now, let’s talk about landing.”
“At my cue, straighten your legs, raise your feet and hold that position.” This made no sense; I had the visual of people landing on their feet and running a little ways. But sure enough, as the ground rapidly rose to meet us, he said, “Now.” I did as told, and was seated gently, like a leaf floating to earth.
I realized that he had told me what I needed to know…exactly when I needed to know it. Like God, Who guides one stitch at a time without revealing the finished tapestry.
Timeless truths for all of us….whether jumping out of a plane or just living life!