Don't Make Fear a Factor

Have you ever wanted to get in a plane, climb 14,000 feet in the air, and then jump out of the plane?  Well, me either, but that’s exactly what I did.  Last week, I did something I NEVER would have thought I would do.  I went skydiving.  Now, let me be clear, this wasn’t something that I have always dreamed of doing, and no, it wasn’t on my bucket list. There is one very real reason that I would never have dreamed of jumping out of a plane, I’m afraid of heights. I don’t particularly enjoy roller coaster rides, in fact I keep my eyes closed until it’s over.  So yeah, skydiving was not on my list of things to do.  Until I was strolling through my Facebook feed and came across a video and pictures of a friend of mine jumping out of a plane!  My initial thought was, “He is out of his mind, and this mid-life crisis stuff has gone too far.  However, once I saw his video about his experience and I had the opportunity to speak to him personally, I thought, “That’s pretty cool!  I wish I could do that.”   

 He and the group that he jumped with were so excited that they planned to do it again and invited other people to join them.  I really wanted to say that I was going because it looked so fun and I mean, it’s not every day that someone jumps out of a plane.  As much as I wanted to, I didn’t respond to the Facebook post.  Why?  Because I was scared!  I mean it’s not every day that someone jumps out of a plane!  Not to mention I am afraid of heights.  Jumping out of that plane meant that I had to face my fear of heights, and I wasn’t prepared to do it.  Then, one day my friend out right asks me, “Are you going to skydive?”  I look at him, and I respond, “Yes.” I can’t let him think I’m a punk or something, but I also suffer from doing what I say I’m going to do.  My fate was sealed, I would jump out of the plane.

 The morning of the jump comes and the closer we get to the location, the more nervous I become.  I start questioning myself.  Thinking, “This mid-life crisis stuff has gone too far.”  Lord, how in the world am I going to jump out of this plane?” “What was I thinking?”  Nervous doesn’t come close to what I was feeling, and though I kept saying I was nervous, I was trying hard to hide that I was TERRIFIED!  Before you get into the plane, the put a device on your arm and it tells you the altitude, you actually pull the cord at about 6,000 feet in the air, so the device is there to keep track.  I watched the device as we got higher and higher.  When we reached 14,000 feet they opened the door, and I was ready to jump out of my skin.  There is nothing but sky.  They don’t take long before they start jumping out of the plane.  There were four of us jumping and I was third.  My “partner” for lack of a better word moved us closer to the door, and that’s when it got real.  She asks if I’m ready, I say, yes, even though I wasn’t really ready, but it is too late to back out.   As we jump from the plane all I feel is immense wind in my face, then I remember the position that I’m supposed to keep in the air and I open my arms and push my legs back. I’ll be frank, I DID NOT like the initial jump.  The wind beat my face, and I remember feeling like I couldn’t breathe.  I also don’t think I was aware that we were falling.  My “partner” grabs my hand to pull the string, and our chute goes up, and we are floating.  I look down, and exclaim, “Wow!!!”  My “partner” replies, “Welcome to the sky, girl.” It was absolutely amazing!  I can’t begin to describe it, it is something that a person has to see and feel for him or herself.  Basically, if I had never moved past my own fear, I would never had that amazing experience.

 Fear is very powerful, and while it protects us, it can also paralyze us.  It can keep us from enjoying life and having life changing experiences.  I remember some months back watching Steve Harvey on Facebook.  He must have been in the middle of takes for Family Feud and he was speaking to the audience.  Steve was basically telling the audience the benefits of "jumping”.  He said, “Many of us will live a life never fully living because we are afraid to jump.  Every successful person in this world has jumped.”  You have to jump!”