and then i jump

jump

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’ve never dreamed of doing this. Not really.

Anyway, it’s Still Saturday. I should simply be still.

zipline 2

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, we 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…

climb

(This is me. Photo by Laura Boggess.)

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, she 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 will 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.

And I fly!

When was the last time you jumped?

jump

(This is not me. But it’s how I felt. Photo by Laura Boggess.)

 













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Sandra Heska King
PRAY EDITOR "Once a nurse, always a nurse," they say. But now I spend my days with laptop and camera in tow as I look for the extraordinary in the ordinary. I'm a Michigan gal, mom to two, grandmom to two, and wife to one. My husband and I live on 50 acres in the same 150-plus-year-old farmhouse he grew up in. I love this quote by Mary Oliver, "Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it." That's how I want to live. And I'm still learning how to be. Still.
Sandra Heska King

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43 Comments

  1. I was so impressed when I saw that you did this!!! You are awesome! xox

    • Sandra Heska King

      We have an awesome God, and there are so many ways to jump… right into His arms and into the wind of the Spirit. Right?

      • Yes, indeed!!!

    • Sandra Heska King

      Oh, how I considered backing out, giving my silver star to someone else. But I had a feeling I’d regret it. I would have.

  2. Here I sit in Barnes and Noble, crying as I read this. And your blue manicured thumbnail, peeking out from under your sweatshirt sleeve? Priceless, my friend. Just like you!

    • Sandra Heska King

      I’m still on a high here. It think it might take a while to come down. Thank you for this gift. I’d never have been brave enough on my own. I know this. You are a gift in my life direct from the Gift Giver.

  3. when was the last time i jumped? yikes! me no like heights.

    i reckon, to answer your question though, it would have to be right after i peed my pants.

    • you did good, miss Sandra.

      • Sandra Heska King

        Well, we were at least tied up there. :)

        I still can’t believe I did it. Such spiritual significance to it, too.

  4. Oh, Sandy, I admire your bravery! Heights simply do me in, so this would never be something I could do. It would be fun to feel weightless in the wind, though! :)
    Blessings!

    • Sandra Heska King

      Oh, I wasn’t feeling brave at all. I was afraid of that stomach rush you get like when you go down a log flume. I don’t like that feeling. But did not have that. It was super awesome.

  5. Oh, so happy to have met beautiful you at retreat and to meet Bible Dude himself!
    My brave act was to go antiquing with 3 women I had never met before that weekend. :) No zipline for me!

    • Sandra Heska King

      I love antiquing! Did you buy anything?

      It was wonderful to meet you, too. I wish we’d had more time together.

  6. Woo-hoooooooooooooooo! YAY for you!!

  7. Oh no you didn’t!!! I am so super proud of you Sandy. I cannot imagine having the courage to do it. My heart was so there with all of you.

    • Sandra Heska King

      I did, I did, I did. I wish you were there, Linda. I so miss you!

  8. Duane Scott

    :)

    As one who was sitting by the fire, I’m so sorry I missed this.

    • Sandra Heska King

      It would have been so much fun to have had you there. But you looked like you were having deep conversations next to that toasty fire. :)

  9. So proud of you for jumping, Sandy. And wasn’t it nice to have Laura along?

    • Sandra Heska King

      Thanks, Megan. Now if we could only always jump into the hard and unknown knowing that God’s right there to catch and carry us. And, yes, it was so awesome to room and hang with Laura.

  10. Sandra the Brave. Sandra the Conqueror.

    No, more than conqueror. Wow.

    • Sandra Heska King

      Sandra the Knee Knocker. Sandra the Teeth Chatterer. But… I did it.

      Now if I can just jump into a couple of dreams with the same abandon. ;)

  11. Still smiling. I’m so glad you were brave, Sandy. I don’t know if I would have been without you :). A memory for the memoir, no?

    • Sandra Heska King

      Same here, Laura. I so glad I could share it–and the weekend–with you. For the memoir… could be. :)

  12. Dear Sandra
    Oh, you are brave!! You make me think of a 80 year old friend of mine, Nick Bakker. He was the oldest South African who ever climbed Mt Kilimanjaro last year. Two weekends ago, he did a tandem parachute jump. So, there is still hope for you. Truth be told, I am a bit jealous of all you girls at the retreat last weekend.
    Blessings
    Mia

    • Sandra Heska King

      That. Is. Truly. Awesome!

      I don’t know if I could jump. Somehow those ropes and clips seem a little more safe than a parachute that might not open…

      I wish you could have been there. (And we did have some a handful of men–including the BibleDude himself.)

  13. I was holding my breath while reading this. Good on you.

    • Sandra Heska King

      You climbed mountains so would have done this.

  14. Actually, Sandra, the last time I jumped was Saturday just a few minutes before you :) That last pic on your post is ME! If you go over to my place, you can hear the narrative of you climbing up that second crazy net (I caught it on video). It’s neat to see how rich the experience was for all those who braved it. I’m glad to have shared it with you!

  15. you did a great job. I was watching you all at the bottom and yelling encouragement and clapping in glee as each of you did it. And my heart was particularly happy when you exclaimed ‘Can we do that again?’ I am so glad that you did this friend. I am so glad that all of you ladies drew courage and climbed up that wall and felt that fear and launched into the unknown…and felt that freedom that you hadn’t know until you jumped ;) Keep jumping friend…and i know it was a blessing to have Laura along on the journey too!

    • Sandra Heska King

      We drew courage from you and each other. I love how we help carry each other’s fear and wrap our hearts around each other–brothers and sisters. And I would do it again in a heartbeat… except I also feel I might have missed something from that fireside chat. :)

      So glad to have met you face to face–and totally cracked up at the photo of you with the glass to your ear in Diane’s slide show . . . :)

  16. Wow!! That’s all I can say after seeing Kim’s video… wow! Zipping is something I would never try, along with skydiving and the like. Not so much because of fear, but because that kind of speed isn’t my “thing”. I don’t even enjoy fast cars on the highway! LOL! But I really do get how empowering it is to face one’s fears and overcome them… to discover the fear wasn’t in the doing, but in the worrying about it ahead of time. Bravo for facing yours and loving the result!

    • Sandra Heska King

      I don’t like rollercoasters. And I had this fear of that stomach rush you get when the log falls down the flume at an amusement park. But I didn’t feel that at all. And yes, the fear was more in the fretting. :)

  17. Diana Trautwein

    You are SO crazy. Crazy brilliant and brave. I simply could not do that. I hate heights, I hate speed and I have absolutely no upper body strength of the ability to stand after sitting or falling. So there’s that. Congrats!!

    • Sandra Heska King

      No upper body strength here, either. Oh. My. Climbing and crawling out on those platforms was harder than the actual jump. (I did get strangely weak at the top of the St. Louis arch.)

    • Sandra Heska King

      I was so, so scared. But mostly in the thinking about it. ;)

  18. 3 weeks since #jtreat and my heart is now ready to read everyone’s link ups. I am glad you experienced the literal and spiritual flight of the weekend. Fly on!

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  2. five minute friday: brave - Sandra Heska King | Sandra Heska King - [...] thumbs. Or climbing a cargo net when you’re old enough for a social security net. It’s not just leaping …
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