Wednesday, August 14, 2019

The Edge of Glory

"I'm not afraid of heights; heights are afraid of me."

False. These exact words fly from my mouth, and they are anything but true. In fact, I shudder at the idea of being positioned at any height over 5'6" (which gives me an inch-and-a-half to go on my tiptoes). 

Now, if you are deathly afraid of heights, what do you suppose is the last thing you would want to do? If you're me, that last thing is to jump out of an airplane! Now, what do you think one of my closest friends asked me to do? You probably guessed it: jump out of an airplane!

It's only four days from when we are supposed to propel through the sky from a perfectly-functioning airplane when I agree to the idea of skydiving--mostly because I don't think it will actually happen. Within these four days, I have a fair shot to tell people about my upcoming exhilaration. However, after being questioned about my life insurance policy in one conversation, I limit the news to a few people (who do not include my parents!).

It's the week of the county fair, and for the first time ever, I'm skipping a day of shows. Heading over to Wisconsin for a two-hour car ride, I'm even more nervous than I was during the final episode of Friends! We arrive, and, to my surprise, the little figures that resemble people floating through the sky can safely walk once they hit the ground! I feel somewhat at ease until the next part . . . the information video. We listen to the man with the long beard talk on a screen. He briefly welcomes us to the site, then spends the next 240 seconds, or so, telling us about everything that could possibly go wrong during our fall.

At the last chance of getting a refund, I am ready to leave! Well, that didn't happen. The next fifteen minutes are spent on a perfectly functioning airplane. As we take flight, all I can do is stare at my hand. Written on my skin, there's a dollar symbol, followed by a three-digit number, just in case I need any inspiration--or a reminder of the investment I have permanently deposited.

We get up to altitude, and I'm at the peak of my nerves. Here I am: 15,000 feet up in the air with a guy stuck to my back, idling in an airplane. We sit up. . . .  The fear swells! We scoot forward. . . . It continues to intensify. We approach the edge of the plane--the edge of glory. We squat down. . . . It is at this moment that I have accepted my fate, whatever it may be. Less than an inch away from falling 15,000 feet down to earth, I am, from the bottom of my heart, fearless.

In less than a short moment, we're gone. We're falling to earth at a speed of 120 miles per hour. Less than a minute later, we pull the parachute and retract another few hundred feet away from the ground. It's peaceful. Though facing a potentially-fatal situation, I feel no feeling more than safe.

Gliding through the air, I can think of nothing better to do than admire the view and talk about agriculture to the guy strapped to my back. Never have I seen such a remarkable view of livestock, buildings, and even irrigation systems. It's funny how new everything looks from a different perspective.

Great things never come from within comfort zones. I can still say, "I'm not afraid of heights; heights are afraid of me." However, I am afraid of heights, and I truly don't believe heights have the capacity to be afraid of me. Looking back, I know for a fact that I wouldn't have jumped out of that plane had I been given more than four days to consider the consequences--especially since a four-minute film was nearly enough to change my mind.

In life, opportunities arise, and discomfort may be the only thing holding us back. The outskirts of our comfort zones are our boundaries. However, when we approach our boundaries, we reach the edge of glory, and the best thing we can do is jump. After all, once we step out of our comfort zone, we realize we really weren't that comfortable after all.