I am so proud of my brother, Mike. Three days ago, he and I (along with my new neighbor, Tarl, who appears to be up for anything) decided that jumping out of a plane from 13,000 feet was rational. And to make it more interesting, we tossed conventional wisdom out the window and opted to jump SOLO instead of strapping ourselves to the bellies of professionals.
Now, we had to take a class for 4 hours to become familiar with jumping technique, flying technique, and among other things, malfunctions (all 12 ways the jump can go terribly wrong). I’ll be honest; I was gung-ho for a solo jump until I understood that jumping out of the plane was the safest thing I would do, and even questioned the instructor on our preparedness for taking on such a big responsibility in our very first jump. He thought we were ready for it, but it was my brother who was completely sold on bypassing tandem for solo. That’s why I’m so proud of him. He got crazy. (I’m so glad we got to share something so extreme together, bro. Love ya.)
Thankfully, I exited, flew and landed perfectly. According to Jumpmaster Vanessa (who’s jumped 4,000 times), “Sweet jump, dude!”
Prior to my jump (I went first), I soaked our jumps and chutes in prayer. I neglected, I guess, to be more specific with landing, though. (I can’t help laughing right now.) Mike jumped, flipped and flew his way to 5,000 feet before deploying his chute, then floated his way down to 50 feet or so in nearly the ideal landing spot. Unfortunately for him, he forgot to “flare,” what you do to put on the brakes of a parachute, and at 30 mph, bounced and skidded to a stop. (Still laughing. Sorry bro; it’s funny.) You can see his landing here.
Tarl followed Mike’s momentum in the opposite direction and missed the landing strip entirely. When he finally came down, it was nearly half a mile (or so it seemed) east of the facility and in the middle of a bush on the hillside. (Tarl, you earned some serious comic points with that one. Nice work dodging the rocks.)
In the end, it was probably temporary insanity that overcame each of us as we looked out the small door at 13,000 and thought, “Yeah, this is a good idea.” But we did something a very small percentage of skydivers, let alone the world’s population, have ever considered doing. We jumped solo instead of tandem our first time out. I love it. It was an amazing experience, and I have to tell you……each day since I’ve thought about going back.
God must have a huge smile on His face. I’m enjoying myself again. I love you, Lord. Always. JG