As I climbed on board the prop plane and slid across the hard metal bench that lined the fuselage, I began to tremble. I started to question my sanity and my judgment. I wondered how safe the airplane was that would take me up into the blue sky above. I prayed that we would make it off the ground in one piece, and prayed even harder that we would make it back to earth in one piece.
It’s not that the plane gave the appearance of some pre World War II machine so much as it was that we would be jumping out of it once the plane reached an altitude of 13,000 feet.
Skydiving is something I have wanted to do for a long time. Probably from the time I saw the movie Point Break, I have had the bug. I guess seeing Johnny Utah falling through the sky in an adrenaline rushed state eventually inspired me to sign a 15-page waiver that would have made my wife choke. I was finally living out the dream, but instead of the feeling of excitement you see in the movies, I had a knot in my stomach that would have rivaled the strongest noose.
“How are you feeling!?” My charged up jump partner yelled over the roar of the props. This guy was looking even crazier than Bodee.
I just looked back at him in a state of shock.
“Ha!” he laughed at me.
The plane came to a slow down once we reached altitude and they slid the huge metal door on the side of the plane open. The rushing wind came into the plane and filled my lungs with panic. I slowly slid across the cold bench towards the open door and the moment of truth set in. Crouching down in the door of the plane, I was looking out and there was nothing but air between me and the ground some 13,000 feet below. The patchwork landscape held out its arms almost mocking my thoughts that I could ever have been as cool as Keanu Reeves.
I felt a push from behind and realized that I was well beyond the point of no return. I was falling toward the earthen quilt below me at over 120 miles-per-hour. I could not hear anything but a loud blast of wind as it rushed by my ears. I let go of my panic and embraced the adrenaline with a huge smile. It was more amazing than I could have ever thought. Every sense in my entire body was overloaded with stimuli. I was flying like an eagle high above the earth.
The parachute fortunately opened, and we glided down to a soft landing some eight minutes later. I was just charged with emotion. I had done it! Survived the fall and conquered the fear of the unthinkable. Perhaps I was as cool as Keanu Reeves.
There are so many times in life where we are facing the door of the airplane, and so many times when we back away to live a safer more calculated life. What I think we fail to realize is that our own thoughts and fears are what often get in the way of living out the life that God has called us to. I look at Christ’s life some 2,000 years ago, and he was anything but ‘safe’. Walking into literal political firestorms, camps of lepers, and hoards of homeless just to show people love and to bring healing. He bowed down to the point of death to bring hope back to the world. It would be like standing at the edge of the plane with no parachute and jumping anyway in faith knowing God had a bigger plan. Pretty amazing.
I am glad I was able to take the step out of that airplane and experience something so amazing. I hope it gives me the courage to do more in my everyday life and step out in faith when the solid ground looks so far away. Stepping out trusting God will guide my steps and bring things together for His glory. I don’t want to live a safe and predictable life. I want to force myself to jump out a little more often…
By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going