Friday, September 7, 2012

Skydiving, Velcro, and Me

It was one of those, “Oh no you Di'n't!” kinda moments. My friend had just jumped out of an airplane at 14,000 feet. You can imagine the flip-flip my heart went into just reading the comment. She had the nerve to post a picture to prove she completed the audacious feet. My heart is in over-drive right now just writing the words.

I thought we were friends. She knows what fraidy cat I am. The only thing she could have done to come closer to giving me a heart attack was to post pictures of a snake. My friends know. They sign a sort of prenuptial-friendship agreement. If you wanna remain friends, it's easy: no snakes!

Just ask the ones that have violated the 'no snakes' clause. They'll tell you breaking up is hard to do when the break up is over violation of that clause. Now it looks like I'mma have to add a 'no sky diving' clause.

Courtesy A. Hughes
You know me. I'm a push over. It doesn't take me long to kiss and make up. So it was that when my friend and I met after this adventure of hers, we shared a long hug and laugh. Truth is, I held on longer because I was glad she survived her brush with insanity. We talked non-stop trying to make up for lost time.

We talked about pushing ourselves beyond our fraidy cat limits and how change follows like dominoes. I tried to cover up the ugly truth about how I really felt. If I had to admit it, I was just a teeny-tiny, eensy-weensy bit jealous. Jealous of her backbone. I thought it was a big fat hairy deal to get on an airplane. She got on and jumped out at 14,000 feet. Show off.

My unremarkable flight was the gift of change that keeps on giving. I can only imagine that her escapade is going to reap much larger rewards over a much longer period of time. So, I asked, “How do you think you've changed after taking on such a daunting experience?”

Her face went somber. The staccato of conversation and laughter softened to a hushed and pensive quiet. I watched emotions flit across her face as she organized her thoughts and took stock of them: 

Courtesy Mad Penguin Creative
You know, I am different. I have recognized sin in my life. It's something that has haunted me all my life. Somehow, I see it now like I never have before. I have always been the kind of person who listens to the opinions of others and takes stock of myself in light of what they say. If I heard anything negative, I immediately identified with it and adopted it as my own failing.

It was as if I had Velcro strips all over me. I wore those and waited for any negative label to come zinging toward me. Every time I heard one float through the air, I'd grab it and plaster it on even if it didn't apply to me. Somehow, I'd find a way to make it apply and accept the guilt and blame for that fault, failing, or sin.

As she spoke, her hands floated through the air as if grasping words floating by. She'd pluck the invisible word out of the air and pat it down to stick it tight to a waiting Velcro strip. Maybe you had to be there, but the moment was riveting: 

Courtesy My Free Falling Friend

Pure and simply, accepting all that guilt, all that blame was sinfulness on my part. Taking all that on was a twisted kind of selfishness that made me the center of my own negative universe. I was refusing to accept the righteousness of Christ and live in peace with myself. I feel free now. Free to live as the new creature I am: redeemed, forgiven, made new. I am free from the selfishness that enslaved me.

We sat back and looked at one another basking in the moment. I said, “If you realize this much so soon, can you imagine where you'll be a year from now?” Then, it was time to rush on to the next things on our never ending 'to do' lists. We hugged again as we savored the victories of life and the sweetness of new found freedoms in Christ.

In the days since, I have rejoiced over the opportunity to share her journey and her victory. I think about the unseen Velcro strips that adorn my existence and the unwanted labels they bear. The burden is heavy. I am weary from the labor. I reach down and grab one as I think of how it has haunted my days. I hear the distinct sound of Velcro tearing loose. Enough is enough. In my mind's eye, I see myself at the door of the plane. I jump. I am in a freefall to freedom.
Who knows? Maybe the next time she jumps, she won't be alone. ;-)

2 Corinthians 5:17 (Amplified Bible)Therefore, if any person is [ingrafted] in Christ (the Messiah) he is a new creation (a new creature altogether); the old [previous moral and spiritual condition] has passed away. Behold, the fresh and new has come!

Courtesy B. Creasy - 2010
Matthew 11:28-30 (The Message Bible) Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.


  1. Oh my gosh, I'm going to think on this and probably blog about it. I hope you don't mind. I'll add a link back here, of course.

    Your friend's words are profound. I'm so covered with Velcro, I'm surprised my FB photo shows anything else. Freedom has always been my #1 word. I want it more than just about anything. I'd love the sound of ripping Velcro if it was to get rid of all these labels and live free!

    Thanks for hearing the value in what your friend said, and writing it in such a way that I feel like I was right there with you, sharing the moment.

    1. Oh, what an amazing time it was to sit and talk with her about how the experience has already impacted her. I am proud of and for her and looking forward to watching the continued impact of her dive. Please: blog and link. Link and blog. I love watching how the gift of words is the gift that keeps on giving!