Yes, I really did go hang gliding. Some of you probably think I’m crazy. And you might well be right. Actually, I’m crazy enough that I would love to do it again!
A few years ago, as my daughter was about to head off to college, we spontaneously joined some dear friends on a hang gliding adventure. Honestly, it hadn’t been on my “bucket” list.
I had lived through a lot of unexpected change over the previous few years and survived. And I had begun to realize how healthy it is to try new things and to step outside of my comfort zone. (or fly outside of it, in this case)
So when they invited us to join them hang gliding? Why not?
The first part of the day involved an actual flight. A TANDEM flight. In other words, I was just along for the ride. Our aircraft was towed up in the air behind a prop plane and then released, and we enjoyed a several minute glide back down to earth. An experienced hang glider pilot was in charge; I just had to summon the courage to open my eyes and enjoy the beauty of Lookout Mountain.
The second part of the day presented a greater challenge. At that point, I attempted to learn to hang glide solo. Easier said than done. The rigging of the solo hang glider required sitting in sort of a sling. I would carry the hang glider up a small hill (think bunny slope if skiing), then the idea was to run down the hill until the wind picked up the sail and the hang glider. At that point, I was supposed to just sit back in the seat and let the wind and sail carry me. Easier said then done. I couldn’t let go of the aluminum frame. Every time the glider was picked up by the wind, I grabbed onto one side of the frame. And every time I did that, I crashed. After about 10 attempts, I gave up, choosing injury avoidance over hang gliding success.
I’ve reflected a lot on that adventure over the last several years. And I’ve realized that some wonderful life lessons came from that experience.
Here are 5:
1. New adventures are exhilarating! Was the last time you tried something new? It’s so easy let routine and habit control every part of our lives. Try something that makes you a little uncomfortable! You’ll be glad you did.
2. Fear can cause you to miss the beauty of life. When our hang glider was first released from the tow plane, I must admit…I was scared. (And the thought “what am I doing here” was on repeat in my brain) My instinctive reaction was to keep my eyes closed. Thankfully, I pressed through that fear, and opened my eyes to see amazing beauty as we glided back down to earth.
3. The ride is over before you know it. As are our lives. Carpe diem!
4. Remember that we’re not in control. Once I accepted the fact that a very experienced hang gliding pilot was controlling my flight, I was able to savor the ride. The same thing is true about life. We having a loving, faithful God who is in control of our lives. Instead of battling God for control, if we will yield to His guidance, our life will be beautiful. Not easy, but beautiful.
5. Our instincts aren’t always best. When I repeatedly tried learning to hang glide, my reflex was to grab onto the frame of the glider whenever the slightest breeze picked up the sail. That resulted in crashing 100% of the time. It’s often our instinct in life, too….instead of sitting back and trusting God with the future, we try to orchestrate the results. And we continue to crash.
Hang Gliding, anyone? If you’re in the Atlanta area, here’s the where we went: www.hanglide.com.
Try something new. Savor the gift of your life. Step outside your comfort zone. Trust God.
The flight will be over before you know it.
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