The Things We Do for Love

“You want WHAT for your 21st birthday?”  Matt had just finished telling me of his desire to go skydiving.  “Fine. I don’t have to join you.  I’ll be the photographer.”  Or so I thought, until the memories of our Mother’s Day adventure came flooding back.  If rock wall climbing with my boys was cool, just imagine what skydiving with my older son would be like.  Sensing the potential for a most unforgettable memory of a lifetime, I managed to talk myself into jumping out of a perfectly good airplane thousands of feet above the earth.  Matt was stunned and frankly, so was I.

 

The first time we went we were rained out, plane grounded, no go.  I will admit to not being the least bit disappointed, except for Matt.  He so had his heart set on this.  So here we were again the following week…beautiful weather, no excuses.  We donned our gear, snapped a few photos, climbed into the truck taking us to the runway & headed out, climbed onto the small airplane. 

 

Sitting on benches of a non-pressurized aircraft I caught a glimpse of my 6’3” baby boy as he fought hyperventilation. It was the first time I ever remember seeing him so obviously nervous.  Unable to compete with the roar of the props, we mouthed the words, “Thank You” to each other & prepared to catapult our bodies into the air.  

 

Prior to boarding, instructors teach you how to arch the body, how to land, even how to ham it up for the camera.  They don’t warn you about the screaming wind pulling your cheeks back & distorting your mouth like a bad face lift.  Nor do they prepare you for how fast the earth rushes past you or the sensation of breakfast rising to your nostrils as your body races head first through the air at 120 miles an hour…{note to self, no more blueberry fruit smoothies before skydiving}.  But neither do they spoil the upcoming surprsise, the most incredibly spiritual sensation of floating through the atmosphere once the parachute opens. You get to find that out for yourself. 

 

After 45 seconds of intense free fall…hooked to another human being, I’m guessing so you don’t have to fret about dying alone…the instructor yelled “Pull, Pull, PULL”.  I reached back to find the cord.  The parachute popped open with a slight jerk and it was as if time stood still for the next five minutes while we floated in total silence above the earth far below. 

 

My instructor tapped my shoulder to signal that I could release my death grip on the harness and my hands raised in praise to the Creator of all that surrounded me…the Rocky Mountains so clear & snowcapped, the lakes of Longmont & Boulder Valley, and beautiful blue skies as far as the eye could see. 

 

It was the most spiritual 5 minutes of my life.  “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus sweetest name I know” crossed my lips…between screams of course.  I could scarcely take it in…the stunning vista, the spiritual euphoria and the deep sense of gratitude I felt for the skilled individual who packed our parachutes!  Last off the plane with Matt having jumped immediately before me, I got to see my son’s canopy floating out in front of & just below me.  A sense of pride washed over me as I realized that once again this child has stretched me beyond my comfort zone & encouraged me to truly LIVE. 

 

The instructor handed over the controls to me and let me turn back to see Long’s Peak at 14,000 feet.  I scanned the crops below, the horizon beyond, the clouds just slightly above me…Colorado at its finest.  It was surreal.  After a few minutes the instructor took the controls again & began to guide us in for our landing…on our buns in a pit of tiny pebbles.  What an unbelievable RUSH!

 

Back on the ground at the hangar, my instructor approached me with a sheepish look and calmly stated, “I’m sorry to have to tell you but your video didn’t turn out.  Camera malfunction. We’ll give you the stills but there’s no video.”  Knowing my friends and family the way I do, my first thought was that NO ONE is going to believe I did this!!! They’ll see the stills of me on the ground & in the aircraft and they’ll kid me for the rest of my days that I chickened out & landed with the pilot.  Not on your life buddy, I’m getting a video.  With sincere disappointment written all over my face and some tear-filled negotiating with the Manager, I was soon suiting up for the second time today. 

 

Not everybody gets to jump out of an airplane for the “first time” twice…Yup, it’s true.  I jumped again.  I didn’t even need to be pushed out this time.  I got a repeat of the entire experience and the second time was even better…sans first-time jitters and breakfast long gone I was more relaxed…well as relaxed as a woman can be at 14,000 ft with adrenaline coursing through my veins like water through a fire hose.  This time the instructor decided we’d do some tricks & turns in free fall.  This time he had to yell PULL several times more cos I couldn’t find the cord!  The chute finally opened, and so began another thrilling religious experience under the canopy.  Again I was handed the controls & felt the sheer exhilaration of turning back & forth to take in the mountain views. We could see all the way from Long’s Peak to Pike’s Peak!  At one point we caught a thermal.  Our chute lifted & hung completely suspended in the warm air.  It was as if God said, “Here’s a few extra seconds for you to enjoy this adventure”.  In the midst of the thermal directly in front of our faces a hawk soared in circles to say hello… “I know how you feel”, I told him. 

 

Matt was on the ground below taking video on my camera…just in case…and I managed to land the second time on my feet.  Hugs & high fives were exchanged and Praises to God danced through my spirit.  For not one but two 5-minute periods today I got to commune with the angels on their turf.  It was glorious!

 

“For he shall give His angels charge over thee to keep thee in all thy ways…” Psalm 91:11

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2 responses to “The Things We Do for Love

  1. DiAnna, I am totally jealous of your sky-diving experience.
    My dad jumped out of airplanes as part of his Army career. When I was young. I asked him to bring me a bucket full of clouds. He never was able to do that, explaining that clouds would not stay in their cloud form in the bucket. This was a great disappointment and, I think I decided then, that sometime I would have to jump myself. So I am jealous, you have done one thing on my ‘bucket’ list!

  2. A wonderful experience, wonderfully told. I’m impressed that you did it once and am doubly impressed that you pressed them to stand behind their reputation and give you a do-over.
    😉
    phileo,
    Paul

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