Scott was sixty-nine when he took up skydiving for the second time in his life. He had jumped in the British military in World War II. When the opportunity arose to make a demonstration jump into one of the old military bases, he came to California to learn how to skydive.
His body was old and stiff. But his heart was full of youth and fun. As he worked his way slowly through the levels, repeating many of the jumps until he got the skills dialed in, each jump took a little more out of his body. Despite his resolve, the training was more than he could handle and he had to stop short of his goal. As he left, he vowed to begin strength-training exercises and to return later to complete his training. “I’ll be there; it’ll just take longer than I thought,” he said.
At the same time Scott started training, Tim started his skydiving training, too. Tim had never jumped before, though he had been skiing, mountain biking, and sailing. Tim was terrified. He was fearful that he would fail, afraid that he wouldn’t respond well in an emergency, afraid that he would forget how to land, afraid to get out of a plane nearly two miles above the earth.
Scott talked to Tim. Scott laughed at him and laughed with him. And Tim kept getting back on the plane and passing his levels. He graduated. “I would have quit after the first jump,” Tim said. “But if Scott can do it, so can I. I’m glad he was here. He gave me the faith to do something I believed was impossible.”
We are each to walk our own path regardless of the fears and desires of those around us. Maybe you are like Scott, trying something new, something that may be a little beyond you. Great!
Maybe you’ll succeed; maybe you’ll fail. Only you can decide what you’ll do with the results. Scott could have taken his setbacks bitterly and dragged Tim down with him. Instead he built Tim up, enabling him to achieve something that he might not have done on his own.
Maybe you’re like Tim, wanting to grow, but afraid of what you might lose in the trying. Follow your heart, and if you can find a mentor to help you on your way, thank that person for lifting you up.
Keep walking the path.
Some paths may lead to fame and recognition, others to quiet support of our fellow travelers. Walk your own path. Learn your own lessons.
God, thank you for my life.
From the book: More Language of Letting Go
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