Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Back to earth with a thud

Sometimes it seems we come back to earth with a thud, when the unexpected turns out to be a little worse than we planned or envisaged. But at other times the reverse is true and the disaster we fear is unfolding around us turns out to either be not as bad as we feared, or actually much better than we dared to imagine.

Last week Zoe Sievwright, a 29 year old Scottish woman, took part in a solo parachute jump in Perthshire, Central Scotland in memory of a brain tumour victim. Sievwright jumped out of a plane at 1000 metres off the ground and counted the required time before she opened her chute. But when she pulled the cord the parachute tangled and refused to open. She was unable to fix the problem, so in desperation she pulled the second cord to open the emergency chute. As this chute opened it became tangled with the failed main chute and Ms Sievwright plummeted to the earth at 190 kph.  

After free-falling a kilometre, Ms Sievwright crashed to the ground some 2.4 kms from the drop zone. Amazingly she survived the impact and then discovered that her only injury was a broken ankle. Her remarkable escape was explained by the tangled parachutes slightly slowing her descent and the field presumably being softened by Scotland’s wet weather.
Many of us stress and worry about the things we cannot control. It is natural that when we are free-falling we fear the inevitable thud. The Bible encourages us to worry less, to concentrate on the things we have control over and to hand the rest over to God. It may sound simplistic but we have little other choice. So much of life is beyond our control and learning to let go liberates us to enjoy the ride a little more.

The pain of yesterday’s falls will heal and a broken ankle will eventually reset. The fear of what might happen tomorrow can mean that we eliminate all the risks, but in the process we miss the opportunity to fly.

“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”  Matthew 6: 34

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