I brush the hair from my mouth and eyes, pull hands up into sweatshirt sleeves, and lean into the wind as we trudge up the path. We gather under the pavilion to struggle into harnesses, clip heavy ropes to anchor loops, tighten helmets. I feel much less brave than I did when I signed up for this little Nebraska adventure. It was just a momentary lapse in judgment, I think. I’ve never dreamed of doing this. Not really.
We dodge piles of deer doo in the field as we make our way to the platform. The platform that towers to the heavens—at least 12 times my height. And there’s only one way up.
What on earth do I think I’m doing? I should turn back now. I should be chatting with friends in front of the fireplace. Or taking a nap. Or sipping some hot cocoa. Or seeing something deep. I’m too old for this.
Laura and I stand in front of the cargo net wall as they tie us to lines, and we climb this Jacob’s ladder hand over hand, step by step, as the cloud of witnesses cheers us on.
It’s so high, and I don’t know if I have the strength. I rock on the ropey rungs, sway, but press on.
Dear God, don’t let me fall. I mean, I know the ropes will hold, but still…
My fingers reach the platform floor, but I don’t know how I can haul myself up.
I can’t do it.
“Use the staples now,” he says.
I grab at giant iron loops. They seem sturdy in the post. I tug and scramble and finally my whole self reaches the top, and every muscle quivers.
But I’m not done. I need to go up yet another level, through the center of a net sleeve. So again I do the pull-step, but I’m tilting on my back in the tube until someone says to try one foot in front and one foot behind. And it works.
One step forwards and one step backwards makes rocking slow progress but brings me finally to the top. I haul myself up on my stomach, flop over, stretch out on the wood, try to catch my breath. When I stand, they unhook me from one line and clip me to another.
The brave one on the edge shouts, “Zipping!” And the whole tower sways, and my legs feel weak.
“You may have to push me,” I tell them.
They say they won’t, but it’ll be fun. They promise.
“How old was the oldest person who did this?” I ask.
They shrug. “Maybe mid-70s?”
I’m getting awfully close, but if he can jump out of a plane at 85, I can do this. I can!
I’m all hooked up now. I sit on the edge of the platform, and grasp the rope. Tight. My legs dangle, and it’s a long way across and a long way down.
I yell into the wind, “Landing crew ready?” Or something like that. Then I turn and say, “I don’t think they heard me.”
But they did, my helper girl says.
“Zipping!” I yell.
I close my eyes.
And then I jump.
I fall right into the arms of the wind.
The ropes hold.
And I fly!
Question for you: When was the last time you jumped?
In the stillness,
NOTE: This post first appeared on BibleDude two years ago after I attended the first Jumping Tandem Retreat focused on dreaming. I’m heading back to Nebraska in two weeks where we’ll be dipping into grace. I didn’t sign up to do this again–but who knows? I may have another momentary lapse in judgement. Or maybe I’ll try another brand of brave.
Carol J. Garvin says
This kind of jump-in-faith is a great analogy for trusting in faith through life challenges…trusting that God will be there and hold us up through every experience. But the IRL zipping definitely isn’t for me! I have no desire to push myself into doing brave things, even for the exhilaration. I’m in awe of those who do, but I’m not even tempted to join in. LOL.
Sandra Heska King says
Ha. The climb was hard. The zipping was fun–after I saw others do it and survive. 😉 But there are plenty of brave things I have no desire to attempt. Like I’m not sure I’d want to jump out of a plane. Or even go up in a hot air balloon. There’s something about being attached to ropes. (And trusting they don’t break, of course.)
Diana Trautwein says
And once again, I love this! But I am with Carol – I’ll watch, thanks. 🙂
Sandra Heska King says
My niece, the one I “ran” the 5K with last month, did a “polar plunge” in, I think, February. It. Was. Cold. in northern Michigan. The entrants dressed up (or wore swimsuits) and paraded down the street. Then one by one they jumped into a small pool under the pavilion downtown. It was a fundraiser, but I’m pretty sure that’s another adventure I’ll bypass… pretty sure my heart would stop.
Martha Orlando says
Oh, sweet Lord! Ziplining is something I don’t think I can ever try as I’m fearful of heights in narrow and/or uncertain places. However, I metaphorically jump in other things because I know the Lord will catch me. Bravo, Sandy! Blessings!
Michele Morin says
I enjoyed your experience vicariously! (and that’s as far as it will go!)
You remind me of Luci Shaw and her bungee jumping experience around the time she wrote The Crime of Living Cautiously (I think that’s the right title?).
Does this mean we should be watching for a book?
Sandra Heska King says
I don’t know if I’d have the nerve to bungee like Luci did. And I wouldn’t be expecting an adventure book any time soon. 😉