I am not really an adventurous sort, but for some reason I was compelled to try para-sailing this past week. Perhaps the fact that my son wanted to go and I didn’t want to chicken out was part of the compulsion. I must admit the idea of hanging from a parachute connected by a couple of hooks while being pulled around by a boat in the middle of the ocean might seem like fun to others it just has never had much appeal to me.
The view was amazing, but the view was no different than that which you would see from a plane or while gazing out the window of a tall building. The thing that was most striking to me while being suspended 500 feet above the water was the absolute quiet. The quiet was overwhelming. Being accustomed to spectacular views from a plane window, I am also accustomed to the sound of the engine and the people around you.
We both hung suspended from a parachute with no engine, no one else talking. We both watched in silence the vastness of the ocean. The silence was breathtaking and I think we are both trying to figure out the words to utter in order to describe the experience.
I would do it again, but I am not sure I can explain why. As we reached our zenith, some 500 feet above the water, my son looked at me and said, “Dad we’re flyin’ just like Mary Poppins!”
I think I will remember his words more than anything else – that and the sound of his laughter as our toes splashed down into the cold ocean water.
It struck me when we got out of the boat and returned to safe land. Most of the enriching moments in our life (and especially in ministry) are when we are willing to take risks that move us out of our comfort zone and away from our routines.
The view from a Para-sail was worth the risk and I will keep that view in mind the next time I hesitate to step out of my comfort zone and change my routine.