When I was a young man I was always fascinated by paratroopers, by men who threw themselves from planes and drifted slowly to earth. When I turned eighteen I couldn’t wait to get into jump school. I loved it! I got to jump with some really dedicated, experienced and phenomenal men. Back then equipment was changing and jumpers were starting to learn how to maneuver across the skies. There was one time we went up in a tiny observation plane crawled out on the strut, waited for the jump master to say “go” and fall away…but that didn’t always happen.
There were four of us literally stuffed in as cargo and hardly able to breath let alone move. I was second in line first man goes out everything looks good he pushes off with his feet and…he doesn’t let go. He is literally clutching the strut with all he’s got, his body horizontal. I scream. “Let go, you have to let go.”
The jump master slams his helmet into mine as yells, “Jack get the (blank) out there and pry his hands off or we’re all going to die.” The weight of his body was starting to pull the little plane over. The pilot was straining, the engine was whining and looked like we would all go down. So…I pulled myself over and grabbed his hand starting to pull one finger at a time off the strut.
He looked me in the eyes and screamed, “I can’t do it this time I just can’t do it.” I yelled back, “I get it! Me either so you and I will let go together.” With that we tumbled away.
I don’t know about you but this world is tough. Sometimes we just float along under a beautiful canopy and everything is peaceful and quiet and great! But then the ground comes rushing up and we smack hard and think, “What happened? Everything was going so well.I don’t want to do that again. It’s just too hard.”
Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero said this shortly before his assassination: “I am going to speak to you simply as a pastor, as one who, together with his people, has been learning the beautiful but harsh truth that the Christian faith does not cut us off from the world but immerses us in it; the church is not a fortress set apart from the city. The church follows Jesus, who lived, worked, struggled and died in the midst of a city…”
There is so much pain, loss, poverty, anger, resentment and beauty in this world. There is so much we can do together. Let it go! Serve together. Stay on the path that leads both towards our Savior and away into the world. We need each other and honestly you can’t do it alone! Trust me I know.
See you on the somewhat scary yet exciting path…