I joked recently that I probably wouldn’t get nominated for “Mother of the Year,” but I bought my college-age son a gift certificate at our school auction to skydive. I readily rationalized that since he has the heart of an adventurer, I knew that he’d totally love the experience. And, after all, the money was going to a great cause.
As much as I knew what an exciting thrill it would be, I couldn’t help but feel a bit nervous. I’m his mom. I’m paying (good money) for my child to strap himself to another human being, who will then hurl them both out of a plane thousands of feet above the earth’s surface with the trust that an attachment of fabric wadded into a backpack will deploy and gently carry them back down. REALLY? What on earth could I possibly be thinking?
Well, he went. And my husband and I both rode with him and some buddies—and watched. And you know what? In the moment, I was strangely calm. Peace pervaded me—totally, fully, completely.
The crew and the 20 jumpers scheduled that day were on “cloud hold” for more than five hours, as low-lying clouds covered the sky. On occasion, there would be a large enough cloud break they could send a group up. The pilot assured me they wouldn’t go up unless they knew it was safe.
I watched as Josh, the tandem instructor, gave Peyton his gear, strapped him in it, then coached and calmly guided him with great knowledge and authority. Just listening to him gave me comfort. No doubt, he knew exactly what he was doing. Josh had more than 2,700 jumps under his belt.
My son and his friends paid an extra $10 to go 4,000 feet higher because it allowed for a longer free fall; they wanted to fully embrace the total ride. And they were rewarded for their sense of “risk” and expectancy—they agreed it was the most thrilling and exhilarating thing ever!
The first 30-45 seconds is free fall. Peyton told the instructor that he was open to doing backflips and anything else Josh thought he should experience; he didn’t want to miss a thing! Afterward, Peyton said the free fall was noisy—the instructor communicated with taps on the shoulder. But the time under the parachute was incredibly still and quiet, and you could easily carry on a conversation.
How much like skydiving can our walk with God be—if we’re willing to trust Him. The leap may be a bit unsettling, even scary, and maybe especially with low-lying cloud cover, but when we commit our ways to Him as our tandem instructor, He is a trustworthy guide. He knows exactly what He’s doing. Through His Holy Spirit, he can “tap” us on our shoulder through the noise, and speak to us clearly in the stillness. And the ride can be an incredible, unforgettable thrill.
And as a parent, it’s no different. We can trust our children to go with God, knowing that His ride for their lives may not seem as “safe and predictable” as we might like, but, oh, what they would miss if we didn’t “allow” them to go.
The only way for us, or for them, it is to trust Him, attach ourselves to Him, let Him direct us, and JUMP!
(Dedicated to my buddy and fellow blog contributor Carol Goad, who has actually been skydiving herself.)