Thanks for joining me while I work through posting a chapter of my book called “Friendly Fire.” This chapter primarily deals with the difficulty of trusting in a good God when life is not good. If you have not read my blogs before, please go back a few weeks to Part 1 and begin there for greater clarity.
This next portion is a journal entry written after I went sky-diving in Australia.
January 20, 2009
Today I went sky-diving in an attempt to feel alive, to laugh, to scream, to live again…really live. I’ve done so much crying this past year it felt exhilarating to take my mind outside the parameters of pain and enjoy the adrenaline rush of sheer terror.
Our plane took 20 minutes with its nose to the heavens to reach 14,000 feet above the earth. I’m strapped to this bloke named Arnie and there’s no turning back. I don’t know if he just broke up with his girlfriend, his dog died, or house burnt down. I don’t know if he is suffering from depression, a closet cocaine user, or just another thrill seeker like me. It made me think about my mortality and realize how great it felt to finally want to live again. I guess some of us need a near-death experience to help us understand. Ha Ha.
His weathered features and easy charm exuded confidence—until I looked out the window and realized the insanity of my actions. Just about the time we were ready to jump, he laughingly joked how good it was he didn’t feel suicidal—had he read my mind?
He reminded me to smile for the camera just before we hurled our bodies from the plane. We plummeted to the earth approximately 240 km an hour in a dizzying mixture of terror and exhilaration. As the earth screamed toward me, finally this stranger whom I trusted with my life opened the parachute. Though still thousands of feet above the earth, once that chute opened a surreal peace descended. I went from freaked-out scared to enjoying the ride, the beauty, the gift of being alive. He showed me how to turn the parachute in circles and catch the wind. I felt weightless and free even though the ground rushed closer.
Flying high above the shoreline we swooped and turned toward the park field. People as small as mice rapidly grew to life size as the ground closed in at an alarming speed. I remembered the crucial training to run the minute we touched down. My jellied legs found rhythm and I felt blessed to feel the earth beneath my feet again.
The journey ended with a profound sense of pleasure in life. It felt wonderful to feel something other than pain. My Aussie friends cheered (11 of them came to watch) and I laughed—a real laugh.
As I write now and reflect I see a parallel between skydiving and my life. Childhood pain, marriage, kids, and responsibility—I step into the fray. I struggle and toil as that plane did to reach an altitude of 14,000 feet. I look down and see the craziness of it all. Why would I want to jump from the safety of the plane any more than I would want the way my life has unfolded.
There is this guy named Jesus I’ve made a commitment to. I’m strapped in tight, we jump, and there is no turning back. This Jesus, hurls me from the security of the plane and I find myself free-falling. Sorrow, pain, and disappointment rush at me—I’m terrified and confused. My world has dropped out from beneath me. I’m completely powerless to change my circumstances, but told to smile, to have joy, to trust the one with the parachute. I have a choice to make - will I believe?
The parachute miraculously opens and although I’m still thousands of feet above the earth I feel suddenly surreal, peaceful, safe. I find a pocket of sunshine and hold on tight. We swoop and dip—the ground draws closer. I’m at peace in the hands of my guide, my teacher, my helper.
This is the place I find myself now—soaring far above my problems. Australia has been a gift, a moment of joy, a season to heal. My circumstances remain, I must land and there is indeed an element of danger in the descent, but I’m learning to trust again, enjoying the gift of life. Jesus is in charge of the landing. I would break every bone, if it were left up to me. I have no choice, but to trust.
I see my new Aussie friends below cheering me on. I see David in the far away distance—waiting. I don’t see, but I feel Jesus strapped in behind me ready to make that landing. At the last minute we touch down and run together. I laugh—really laugh, cause in the trusting I learn a truth—I’m going to be okay. I don’t know how this story will end, but I do know who writes the story—and that is enough.
Does this mean I’m learning to trust again?
~ ~ ~
My Aussie Friends Cheer Me On
I have a question for you dear reader? You have a choice to make, will you trust in a good God when life is not good?