In celebration of my 50th birthday my oldest son and I decided to do something different. Not your ordinary kind of different. But something so unique that most of my friends and family were shocked that we did it.
We jumped out of an airplane. Not alone of course. We were tandem to an instructor and jumped from an airplane at 13,000 square feet. For one minute we were in a free fall and then the parachute sail went up and we glided for 7 minutes to the ground.
When I posted our video adventure on Facebook for friends and family to view I was surprised how everyone response was the same. They all told me how ‘brave’ I was. During the entire experience I never thouht for once how brave I was. In my mind I was crazy for doing such a thing.
Brave is a special word reserved for people who do heroic things. Jumping from an airplane wasn’t really brave. It wasn’t heroic. It was just something most people who never do and a little bit crazy.
After hearing how many people thought I was brave I started to think what the word really meant. Does being brave mean doing something other people would never do? Does it mean doing something that involves a risk? Or does mean doing something that requires courage?
I know some very brave people. They have endured far greater fears and uncertainty than jumping out of a plane.
Here are examples brave people I know.
The people who must continue to live after a child they loved has died.
The spouse who is told they are no longer loved and is being left alone to raise the children.
The person diagnosed with cancer and is told they are terminal with only a few months to live.
A child who is being bullied and has no support from the school or community they live in.
The service men and women who are stationed in hostile environments protecting the freedom of people who don’t ever know who they are.
The child who removes a parent from life support because it’s their parent’s wish, but isn’t ready to let their parent go.
The child who must go home to an abusive household never knowing what may happen on any given day.
Being brave doesn’t always mean risking your life. Often it means continuing to live even when doing so seems difficult or impossible.
Jumping wasn’t the scariest part of the event. It was the fear of the unknown on the plane ride up that made me feel most afraid. The fall itself was thrilling. It’s the thrill of doing something so unusual I will remember most, not the fear.
We are all brave. Not because we risk our lives, but because we continue to live despite its’difficulties.