“Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.
Skydiving – A Story of That First Step In Faith
A daring adventure, this was. Let me tell you the story. My wife would be celebrating her birthday. What to get her? A skydiving lesson! Was this something I wanted to do, she asked after receiving her gift (in the form of a certificate to be scheduled at a later date)? Well, I wasn’t sure. It involved something I’d never done before, it involved heights (scary!), and it seemed so black or white – your parachute opens or it doesn’t (you can imagine the picture in my head…).
Her adventurous side convinced me to do it. And what a great experience! We would be jumping tandem – an experienced jumper would be attached to us and control the parachute. Training was minimal – we were shown the proper way to step out of a moving plane. Step out of a moving airplane – in the air – were we nuts! And then it was time to go up. Going up, it started to sink in. What was I getting myself into? How could I turn around and skip this? It was an old plane, and even the pilot had a parachute – what did this mean? There were lots of questions going through my head. And a pit in the bottom of my stomach.
And then we reached the altitude we needed to be at for our jump. Can you recall moments in your life that stand out for some reason? Maybe a scary moment, or an exciting moment. Well, the time had come. The door to the plane was opened. And I was told to start moving toward the open door. I was then clipped in with our skydiving instructor. And there I was, 10,000 feet in the air, looking out the open door of a moving airplane – and hanging on for dear life! This became a moment I’ll never forget. The fear of taking that next step. Of having faith in taking that next step. The one that would take me from the comfort and certainty of the airplane, out into the day sky, and gravity, and whatever else might happen from this high distance. Thoughts rushed through my head. The pit in the bottom of my stomach grew larger. The instructor with me told me it was time to step out onto the wing. Fear! Fear of not knowing what would come next. Fear of something new. The biggest step of my life (at least, at that moment, it seemed that way). It was time. And then, I stepped out. And just like that, we were free-falling toward earth. And what an exhilarating feeling it was! The rush through the sky, the loudness of pushing through the air! The sheer speeds we reached! The freedom of the open sky – incredible! And then we opened up the parachute. Instantly we went from a loud rush through the sky to quiet and calm. And I looked around. And noticed the world beneath me. From a free-fall to controlled movement. Family on the ground, waving to me. Peace. A feeling of joy in the world. And we glided in for a perfect landing.
I had taken that leap – scary as it was. And the experience was like nothing I’d experienced before. And it was liberating. And I felt like I could do anything I wanted to do at that moment.
Taking the Leap
Skydiving. This became much more than just the rush of jumping out of an airplane. This became a moment that I have looked back on many times. Skydiving became a lesson I could use at times when fear would try to overtake my thoughts. Sometimes, we don’t kow what’s going to happen when we take that next step in our lives. Will we crash? Be ridiculed? Fail miserably? Succeed and not know how to handle it? Sometimes we just don’t know. No matter how much preparation we have put in.
You’ve studied your options, you’ve prepared, you’ve crossed your t’s and dotted your i’s. But the next step takes you into the unknown. If you feel confident in where you’re going, but just not what the next step will be like – I encourage you to take that leap. You may not see where that step is going to take you, or what’s up around the next corner. But, if this is something you really want, take the chance. You may fail. But have you not also failed if you want something and don’t take the chance to get it. And you may succeed, success beyond your wildest dreams. But you will never know, if you don’t take some of those steps, if you don’t leap with faith in yourself.
It can be a real test of your faith. Do you believe in yourself and what your going after? Jump! Take a chance! Fail miserably, if that’s the case. And then, get back up and do it again. In the end, you will be much more fulfilled in your life, knowing that you lived it on your terms. That you tried boldly the things which set your heart on fire. And that, that is success in life.