Right Landing

Written by Tina Hunt

Recently my grandson, Asher, has developed a new game. He brings his step stool to you, he counts, and then he jumps at you. We taught him it’s important to count when you intend to jump so the receiver is aware and ready for their role as catcher. It’s no fun, and sometimes painful, to jump and not be caught. Now when Asher goes to get his step stool he begins counting, but he doesn’t start with one. He says, “Twwwooo.” It’s sort of sung with an elongated southern drawl. We think it’s adorable. Then, after he jumps, he looks up with absolute glee and announces, “Again!” Currently, it’s my favorite game.

The other night he added a variation to the game. He climbed up on his little step and turned around. He inched his way precariously to the edge so that he was hanging on with just his toes, looking like a miniature Greg Luganis. He announced “Twwwooo” and jumped off. His pride at landing on his feet was incredible, and he immediately climbed back on the step.

Watching him brought back a vivid memory for me of a time when I stood perched on the edge getting ready to jump.

In the summer of 1980 (eons ago), I agreed to be a counselor at junior high church camp. I agreed, asked no questions, and showed up on Sunday afternoon before the campers arrived. After the counselors assembled, we marched into the woods to a ravine. We were busy commenting on the beauty of the location when some folks walked up and began to unload gear: ropes, clips, and gloves. No one seemed to question them, so I kept quiet. Then, the leaders informed us that during the week the campers were going to repel off the edge into the ravine some thirty feet below. I felt sorry for the kids. The next statements changed my feelings completely. In order to be encouraging, the counselors were going to go first. What? No one checked with me about this. The leader who invited me to be a counselor had failed to mention this little tidbit.

The next thing was a teaching session to show us how safe this whole process was. The instructors must have stated two dozen times how safe this process was and that they could be trusted. While these words might be comforting to the average person, the reassurances never reached my quivering heart.

I maintained that I was afraid of heights. This lesson quickly taught me that I’m not nearly as frightened of heights as I am of crash landings.

I’m still not sure how it was that I got into the harness and made my way to the edge of the ravine. It’s quite possible that I experienced a dissociative moment. All I remember is standing on the edge with a death grip on the ropes. One of the other counselors told me I was whiter than a ghost. I needed to know that? Another felt compelled to tell me that she could see my heart beating in my chest. I was sure she wrong, because it was lodged somewhere between my throat and my ears.

I hung at that edge for what seemed like forever. I don’t know how I mustered the courage to push off, but somehow I did. The first movement caused my ropes to twist a bit and I crashed against the rocky side, leaving me scuffed and bruised. I righted myself and tested my brake. It seemed to be holding. I released and tested it again. Still working. Then, I just let go, and before I knew it I was standing at the bottom of the ravine. I looked up at the instructor and in total “Asher-likeness” announced: Again!

During devotion time at work, we talked about whether our fears motivate us or shut us down. The image works when we think about anything we fear to do. I think it also applies to our ability to trust God as well.

In Hebrews 13:5 we find the promise of God: “I will never fail you or forsake you.” It’s a reminder of His promise from Psalm 118:6, “The Lord is for me; I will not be afraid (HCSB).” It’s like He’s standing with the ropes in His hands, trying to assure us that we can trust Him, that He won’t let us go splat. Sometimes we get turned around, but that’s usually because we’re working against him. If we’ll get it straightened around, we’ll land right.

It’s good to be reminded that He holds the ropes. And we don’t even have to announce the warning “Twwwwwooooo” before we jump–He already knows we’re thinking about it. Now that’s who I want to trust. How about you?

Photo Courtesy of Alan Rainbow

Tina Hunt was a pastor, hospital/institutional chaplain, and family counselor for over 20 years. She continues to spend her days caring for others. She provides daily care for an elderly woman with Alzheimer’s and in the evenings takes care of her six year old grandson. Tina loves to teach and lead Bible studies. She enjoys singing at church, in the choir, and duets with her husband of thirty-three years. Tina has been writing most of her life in career-related ways. She has recently transitioned into making writing her career. Tina finds her inspiration in the common things of life, taking her lead from Jesus. You can find her blogging at Pot Of Manna . Follow her on Twitter: @TinaMHunt

Pirate Preacher

Eddie is an award-winning author of middle-grade fiction with HarperCollins. Father of two boys, he’s also a pirate at heart who loves to surf. Eddie loves to connect with his readers! Learn more about Eddie at: EddieJones.org , pirate-preacher.com or WritersCoach.us

More Posts - Website - Twitter - Facebook - LinkedIn