I recently crossed one more thing off my bucket list. I went skydiving!
Before I could even schedule this exciting event, I had to take an online course. On the day of the dive I met one-on-one with my instructor with whom I would be strapped. He went through the training course with me again. There was an airplane in the hanger that we practiced stepping out of the plane and onto the strut that is attached to the wing. He explained that when it was time to let go of the wing, he would tap me on the shoulder and I should cross my hands over my chest. Once I did that he explained, he would take over. We would free fall for about 30 seconds and then the parachute would open. Just prior to landing he told me I should lift my legs to avoid injury. He asked if I would like to do backflips during the free fall. I wanted to experience it all so I emphatically said, yes.
It was finally time! I eagerly jumped into the back of the plane. My dad was a private pilot so I grew up flying in small planes and learned to love flying at an early age. In the plane with us were two other people who were going to jump out at 5000 feet. We would stay in the plane and jump at 10,000 feet. At this time, I was not strapped to my instructor. When the airplane door opened and the other people jumped, I could see the ground and feel the wind from the open door. That is when it hit me that I wasn’t wearing a parachute yet and I started to get frightened.
My instructor shut the door and strapped me to himself. We finally arrived at 10,000 feet. It was time to open the door. It was “go time.” I stood by the door and looked out. I could see the ground 10,000 feet below me. It was time to step out of the plane. This time that strut looked further away. I managed to step out and was hanging tightly onto the wing. When my instructor tapped me on the shoulder, I forgot what I was supposed to do. I moved my hands to a different spot on the wing. This happened twice. Then my instructor took a hold of my right hand and put it across my chest. Then I remembered. He asked if I was ready. When I said yes, we fell backward, did a few back flips, and then free-fell for a while longer. I could feel the temperature changes as I was falling. I wasn’t afraid while I was free falling, nor when I was floating down with the open parachute. There was no wind after the chute was opened. It was just quiet and serene. My instructor let me steer the chute and we enjoyed the view. Just prior to landing I was instructed to raise my legs and we made a safe and smooth landing. When it was over I had pictures for my reward and proof of my adventure.
I learned many spiritual lessons from this experience. I learned that I could only step out of the plane because I knew I was attached to my Instructor. My instructor had taken me through the steps previously so I knew what to expect. There are times when life is scary. This is when I need to remember that I am attached to my Savior. He has given me instruction in His word and has taught me that I can trust Him.
When I was on the strut of the wing and forgot what I was supposed to do, my instructor took me by my right hand and helped me. He had to actually do it for me. It reminded me of the verse in Isaiah 41:13, “For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, do not fear. I will help you".
Even though I was 10,000 feet above the ground falling and doing back flips I was not afraid because I was connected to my instructor. I rested in his experience. In 1Sam 22:23 “ Abide with me, fear not:…with me thou shalt be in safeguard”.
There was no wind after the chute was opened. I floated down and was able to enjoy the peace and serenity. In Ps 29:33, “The Lord will bless his people with peace”.
The journey of life may be scary at times. We will often come to places where we are required to step out of the plane. If we have the connection with Jesus, he will help us even if he has to take us by the hand. We don’t have to be afraid. And in the end is a safe landing. 2 Tim. 4:7-8 “I have fought a food fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord the righteous judge shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.”
Susan Allen, associate professor of Nursing, Andrews University