The date was August 23, 2014. Yesterday was February 23, 2015. Exactly six
months to the day. To be honest, it was longer than I thought. I could have sworn I jumped in September. You guessed it, I exited a perfectly good airplane at 14,000 feet yesterday. As I think back on those months, I had good reasons for not going.
- There were cold days, and I don't like cold.
- The jump center is open only Friday-Monday.
- I was busy. After all, I went to build a house in Mexico, I have grandchildren to visit, my wife had surgery, I had a oil to change, I had to help the youth group on a couple of projects, I could go on and on.
- A few times my money and the weather and time didn't exactly line up.
- Then there were the times I just didn't feel like it.
- Oh, and then I actually got ready to go once, and the battery was dead.
Well, you get the picture. Suddenly six months have passed and no jumping. So yesterday I mustered all my excuses. I had taxes to finish, I had help coming to balance the church checking account. Someone was in the hospital. Then at 3:00 in the afternoon suddenly my 4:00 canceled and I didn't have anything until 5:30. I had money in the bank. My gear was in the chair by the front door. I was out of excuses. So off I went to the airport, I was going to find the sky.
I have to admit that I was a little nervous. It had been a while and people I know up there might ask me where I have been. (They didn't and seemed glad to see me.) I haven't jumped in a while and I might have forgotten something important, like how to put on my parachute (yeah, like I would forget that). But then again maybe my altimeter battery might be low, I might get unstable, I might. . . . And it is falling through the sky, am I really crazy to do this. No excuses, I am going to do it. So I called to make sure they were actually doing jumping. They were. Whew, I am really out of excuses.
Without going into all the details, I my heart rate was up a little more than normal as we went to altitude. Fortunately, I had two other guys I was doing a jump with and that gave me things to think about. We got to altitude, we were first out, we opened the door, and out we went. We worked on our group thing without really succeeding, and then to opening altitude. Pull. Slow, shake, slider down, good parachute, no traffic. Perfect open and ride to the ground. And nice landing. Oh, the joy. All the excuses, all the nervousness, all the delays, why? I love this.
As I reflect, I am reminded that we often make excuses for not doing what we know we need to do, and want to do. Obvious one include going to church, joining a small group, or visiting that friend. Once we actually get there, and the excuses really never change: What will people think or say? It's been too long. I have too much to do. I don't know what to wear. Yet once we get there we have to simple ask ourselves, "Why? This was not nearly as bad as I expected, and it was great."