Dave Brisbin 9.8.19
One of my most indelible memories is freefalling from twelve thousand five hundred feet. All these years later, my skydive remains both a clear memory and a clear metaphor. To do an accelerated freefall— jump without a jumpmaster strapped to your back, meant eight hours of training on the ground. And all day long I felt the fear growing until it was at the base of my throat as I stood holding the edge of the open door of a plane looking down at over two miles of air. As long as I was holding the door, I had a choice to jump or not…and I also had fear. But as soon as I pushed off, after the initial shock, I settled down to the business of doing what I was trained to do. Once the choice of whether to jump was removed and a sequence of events started that would end at the ground one way or another, all that was left was to trust the people who had jumped before and survived, my training and the bedsheet on my back, and to simply enjoy the ride. The fear was gone.

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After my jump, I began to realize how much life is like this. We’re all skydivers; you’re freefalling right now, where you sit reading this. Since the moment we were pushed out of our mother’s fuselage, we’ve been falling to the ground of our death. We didn’t choose to jump, but we’re falling and the only thing left to do is what we know to do in terms of how to fall with those around us, trust those who have jumped before us who tell us we’ll survive our contact with the ground, and enjoy the ride. We crave clarity, but it’s really all about trust amid the breathless uncertainty of the fall.

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