Pursuing a Dream

Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been and there you will always long to return. – Leonardo da Vinci

Two weeks ago, I got to have the experience of a lifetime. My family has heard me say more than once over the past several years that I wanted to jump out of a plane. So this year, for my birthday, they let me do just that. It was an amazing opportunity and one that was life changing. I have always been intrigued by the skies. Just ask my family or look at the pictures on my phone. My son once told me that instead of having pictures of him and my daughter, my photos consist of sunrises and sunsets. Planes and helicopters have always gotten my attention as well. I wondered what it would be like to be up there, looking down and seeing God’s creation. My family knows this all to well because if we are ever watching tv, or playing a card game, and I hear the sound of a plane or helicopter flying over, they pause and say “Go ahead”, and let me run outside to sneak a peak. I cannot help myself. There is just a pull there that I cannot explain. The sky with its majesty and beauty just has this grip on me and as breathtaking as it can be at times, it leaves me wondering just how glorious will heaven be?

I woke up one Friday morning and just knew that today was the day, it was going to happen, I was going to go skydiving. I’ve talked about it enough, time to put some action to my words. Time to quench this yearning inside of me. I called TN Skydive and asked some questions. I checked their online bookings to check availability at least a dozen times that morning. I even watched some of their videos on Youtube trying to prepare myself. I talked with my husband and decided to just go for it. I called and made a reservation to jump at 4pm. Once I made the commitment, my nervousness lessened. I anxiously awaited the time and finally it was time to leave. I remember calling my parents and telling them what I was on my way to go do, and if they wanted to watch they would need to come on over. It wasn’t a big surprise to them, they know me well. Once I got to the location, the process of getting ready was quite simple and quick. I met my trainer Justin, he went over a few instructions, and I got harnessed up. I cannot explain it, but once the harness was on, I was overcome with a sense of peace. I was excited, still couldn’t believe I was actually fixing to do this, because I had talked about it for many years. I boarded the plane with around 10-12 other people. Most were single jumpers, but there was 3 others doing tandem like me. This was their second tandem jump. The atmosphere in the plane was one of excitement and enthusiasm. It did get a little hot in that plane, but once we got so high up, they opened the door. The rush of cool air was a welcoming relief. The adrenaline started kicking in and I was ready to take the plunge! As we gained altitude, the views were absolutely beautiful. It was a gorgeous blue sky with white puffy clouds scattered about. We were close to the last ones to jump. Somehow beyond my understanding, standing at the edge of the door looking down from 14,000 feet, I was calm. I think I was more in awe at God’s creation and was so thankful that this adventure that I had dreamed about doing for so long, well it was about to happen. I remember Justin saying we would rock back and forth and on the third count, we would jump. I don’t recall any rocking, just falling forward into the big open sky. I am not gonna lie, I had my eyes closed for the first 5 seconds. They tell you to hold your head back and I assumed it was a safety measure. I opened my eyes to see the ground beneath me and felt the cool air hitting my face. You get up to 100-120 mph when you are doing the free fall and it last for 60 seconds. The funny thing is, you don’t feel like your falling. You feel like your just out there floating. I remember it being loud, so loud I couldn’t even hear my own screams of excitement. Justin pulled the chute and it jolted us back up into the sky. The ride down under the canopy was very surreal and peaceful. You have to be able to hold your legs up when you land, so the person you are hooked up to can land safely. A lot of times when you are landing, you slide onto the ground on your bottom to stop and that in itself had me laughing when it was over. Oh, the freedom and beauty of that jump just left me with a big smile on my face and gratefulness on my heart. I would have to say my favorite part was the free fall. There are no words to really describe it. Those that have skydived get it. No doubt, the rush of adrenaline and the freedom you feel while in the air draws people back to do it again and again. Would I ? Absolutely.

After this experience, I am more convinced that God places certain dreams into each of our hearts and he wants us to pursue after them. Not only to bring us joy, but to help us grow in our spiritual walk. I dare say, that most dreams people have tucked away inside are ones that require a bold action on their part, a stepping out of your comfort zone. It will make you dig deep into the inner strength and courage we all have inside. If they came easy, they wouldn’t be called dreams. When we push ourselves outside our comfort zones, we find out what we are made of and that our God will give us the strength we need. Sometimes the reward is not in the dream itself, but the awareness of our own courage and bravery it took to get there. I don’t know why for all those years I had that dream of skydiving, but it was one of the greatest things I have experienced. It changed how I see myself and I don’t know what the future holds, but maybe I needed that. There was purpose in that dream for my life and I am very grateful that God gave me the courage to fulfill it. It has just magnified that spark inside of me when it comes to flying, and I pray there will more opportunities in my future to get up in the sky again. I trust God with it no matter what happens. I pray whatever I was suppose to gain from the experience, I will grasp it and take to heart. And maybe it was just one of those joyful moments that God let me have. He wants to see he children happy. I think when we smile, He smiles. The experience left me with a desire to be more intentional with my days, and not go through the motions of living, but to truly live. Embrace each day as a gift. Choose to open your heart to God and pursue his calling and direction for your life. He wants us to love the life we have, and continue to move forward as we strive to be better Christians. If you have a dream on your heart, I encourage you to take that first step towards making it happen. It may not be easy or happen right away, but you can do it! When I get to the end of my life, I don’t want to have no regrets and no what ifs. If you haven’t listen to Matthew West’s new song “What If”, I encourage you to do so!

Keep moving forward,

Hayley W

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