Jumping from Planes
Good morning dear reader & welcome to my world for another week. This week it sounded too outlandish to be possible: a man was going to jump from an airplane at 25,000 feet without a parachute, trying to land on a net less than half the size of a football field. But this is exactly what Luke Aikins did last Saturday.
He became the first person to skydive with neither a parachute nor a wingsuit. Aikins jumped from an altitude just 4,000 feet short of the summit of Mount Everest, landing on his back in a net suspended 200 feet above the California desert. Then he climbed out into the arms of his wife. Why did he do it? To show "if you train right you can make anything happen."
Here is my question friends: Why do we care?
We appear to be fascinated by the thrill of near-death experiences. We will hold our breath watching an acrobat cross a canyon on a high wire. We will buy a ticket to see trapeze artists & lion tamers. We will flock to movies like Jason Bourne which feature high-speed chase scenes & death-defying stunts.
We want to escape the normalcy of our routine to feel the excitement of the extreme. Somehow we know the world we experience is not all there is. As C. S. Lewis notes, the most spectacular sunset evokes in us a sense there is still "something more." When you hear a brilliant musician or hike through a scenic forest, you feel it, correct? Our world at its most beautiful is not enough.
This "something more" is a symptom of emptiness Pascal found in every human heart. As St. Augustine noted, our hearts are restless in this world, no matter how much we invest in it, will never feed the deepest hunger of our soul.
So here is the balance to maintain in our fallen world. On one hand, we should hope for the best in people & circumstances. We should love our neighbour as ourselves, offering others grace.
On the other hand, we should not be surprised when fallen people act like fallen people. Our broken world affects every dimension of our lives. If we put our hope & trust in flawed people, we will eventually & inevitably be disappointed.
So serve those you meet today dear reader, not so they will serve you but because you are a servant & a leader of people who does this. To quote Lewis again, "Aim at Heaven & you will get earth 'thrown in'; aim at earth & you will get neither."
Thank you friends for taking the time to be with me once again & I hope my journey may encourage you also. Until next weekend, this is Kenn Butler in Paradise, Nelson, with my best wishes & to you all, a splendid week.