Saturday, February 5, 2011


Yesterday (at Ed Bower's funeral) I met someone who rigs parachutes for a living.  We had a chit chat conversation for a few minutes, and then I asked about what she was doing these days and then she told me what her job was and suddenly, she came alive.  How did she come to have such an unusual job?  She said that a client  from her old job, as an event co-ordinator, had given her a jump as a present.  And that one jump completely changed her life.  She went back for another, and another, and pretty soon she discovered this community of folks defined by this "hobby".  And she was hooked.
When she talked about sky-diving her face lit up.  She said when she dives it is the most intense and alive thing she's ever experienced.  I was just floored by the difference in her.  Amazing.  I was so struck by how passion - for something anything? - transforms life.  Every person has the most ineffable beauty inside them, manifested when their body and soul meet the experience that unleashes their passion.  (Too long a sentence.)  Passion makes people beautiful.
Somehow, the fact that there is a community of people who share this experience, understand one another's passion, this is important, too.  She mentioned "community" several times.  That in itself is sort of unusual for a young (30ish) person.  To have and acknowledge a community as being an important aspect of their identity. 
So I've been thinking about sky diving.  Here's what I wonder:  Is that sense of being able to put oneself in a situation of being totally out of control how we put ourselves in touch with our truest and best selves? And others?   It seems to be a metaphor for faith, in one sense.  You prepare.  You prepare as if your life depended upon it.  You aren't sloppy or careless in rigging the chute.  And you rely on others.  She rigs parachutes for other people.  They completely depend on her to get it right.  She doesn't fly the plane.  She depends on someone else to do that.   But the pay off is that you go up into the sky and throw yourself out of a plane and then you fall/fly, totally in the hands of gravity and the air  - things you couldn't control, no matter how hard you try.  And letting yourself GO is such an incredible high that it matters more than the fear (she said sometimes she cries on the way up!) or the discomfort (it's cold up there) or the possible loss of even your life.  It changes how you see your life.  That's what she said.  It changes everything.
I'd like to live like that.  I'd like to experience my life as totally in God's hands and out of my own.  And I'd like to live it in a community that shares my passion.

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