Beliefs of the Heart: Reflections

My First Parachute Jump Ever -- And My Last

June 02, 2021 Sam Williamson Season 2021 Episode 4
Beliefs of the Heart: Reflections
My First Parachute Jump Ever -- And My Last
Chapters
Beliefs of the Heart: Reflections
My First Parachute Jump Ever -- And My Last
Jun 02, 2021 Season 2021 Episode 4
Sam Williamson

Why do we all long so deeply to be a hero, to be seen, to be noticed? What is the longing beneath the longing?  Adapted from this article: https://beliefsoftheheart.com/2021/05/05/my-first-parachute-jump-and-my-last/ by Sam Williamson, and very special thanks to Keith Medley for his FANTASTIC 27 string guitar background song, Ancestors. You can find more of Keith's music at: http://www.keithmedleymusic.com/

Support the show (https://beliefsoftheheart.com/giving/)

Show Notes Transcript

Why do we all long so deeply to be a hero, to be seen, to be noticed? What is the longing beneath the longing?  Adapted from this article: https://beliefsoftheheart.com/2021/05/05/my-first-parachute-jump-and-my-last/ by Sam Williamson, and very special thanks to Keith Medley for his FANTASTIC 27 string guitar background song, Ancestors. You can find more of Keith's music at: http://www.keithmedleymusic.com/

Support the show (https://beliefsoftheheart.com/giving/)

Speaker 1:

Welcome to beliefs of the heart, weekly reflection. I'm Sam Williamson. And today we're discussing my first parachute job . And my last.

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As a young boy, my weekends were filled with imaginary World War II battles. Nearby parks fielded the Battle of the Bulge, and the skeleton of a local building project (fatefully a new funeral home) formed our bombed-out buildings. Dirtballs became hand grenades, ditches our foxholes, and blankets our pup tents. We sacrificed our bodies (and the knees of our jeans) to save the world from Hitler. One Friday evening I watched the movie, D-Day. I was captured by the airborne parachute jumps, the bravery and heroism, and the infiltration behind enemy lines. The next day I made my first (and last) parachute jump. I confiscated a bed sheet from the linen closet and requisitioned ropes from my dad’s tool room. I tied the ropes to the corners of the sheet and fastened them to my chest. I slithered through an upstairs window and crept onto the roof. With my parachute and lines carefully laid out behind me,

Speaker 2:

I perched at the edge of our second story, and I hurled myself into the air behind enemy lines. I waited for the tug of the opening chute. Lying on my back, I looked up. The parachute still lay on the roof, and the carefully cut lines hung limply over the gutter. I had forgotten to measure the height of the roof. My rope lines were five feet too long. Modern Heroic Virtues Our ancestors considered courage to be the highest of virtues. They faced daily threats from diseases without antibiotics, farming accidents unrelieved by 911 calls, high infant mortality rates, and marauding bands of outlaws. They needed daily courage. Before COVID, technology and modern medicine had largely eliminated our need for everyday courage. How many of us in the Western world regularly face real terror? Over the last century, intellectual elites scorned the old-fashioned value of courage. This contempt of courage is evident in the silly stars of modern sitcoms. They are often good for nothing, cowardly nincompoops, or effeminate moral slugs. Aren’t we a bit ashamed of our attraction to sitcoms like Seinfeld and The Big Bang Theory? I wonder if my parent’s World War II generation would have tolerated such shows Our Modern Problem Our culture’s medicine and technology, shields us from the ancient horrors faced by our forebears. Yet—despite ambulances and antibiotics—our mortality rate remains unchanged: One hundred percent of us die. And death is an enemy we are unprepared to face. Much of our technological drive is an attempt to hide from death. We have a deep, hidden fear of death. If death is “it,” everything we do is insignificant. Nothing makes a difference. So we repress the horror of death. But deep down we still fear it. If death is annihilation, then nothing we do—in the long run— will ever matter. I’d like to live an epic life. I bet you do too. But if death is the final end, our heroism will be forgotten when the sun dies. But if death isn’t the end, our self-centered cowardice will haunt us forever. What are We to Do? Our Goliath is Death. Sure, the army of King Saul’s Israel were chickens, but they were smart chickens. They knew that Goliath would slaughter them in a fight. They had no chance. They would be flash-in-the-pan heroes, and then die. And soon be forgotten. When we read the story of David and Goliath, where do we see ourselves? Are we the hero David? Of course we aren’t; we are the cowardly army; the selfish Seinfeld and the gutless Sheldon. We are not the epic hero we long to be. Because Death is the enemy that will kill us. There Was One When little boy David faced Goliath, he face the monster alone. He didn’t call to Saul’s soldiers with “Hey everyone, group huddle.” He didn’t trigger courage with the silly self-hypnosis of visualizing: “Come on, let’s imagine ourselves beating him up.” He faced Goliath alone. With unimaginable courage. Jesus was our David. Only he didn’t face a hulking human, he faced the giant we had no weapons to fight, unconquerable sin and unbeatable death. And he didn’t fight with the hope of winning, he fought knowing that only our hope was his death. Unlike any god of the ancient world; unlike the sappy stars of sitcoms; unlike modern superheroes relying on their superhero strength; our God has courage. Our Last Jump When I jumped—like the idiot boy I was—from our second story roof, I don’t know how I survived unhurt, but survive I did. No broken bones, no twisted ankles, and no pulled muscles. Not even a tear in my jeans (my biggest fear was fear of my mom). But there is a jump everyone inevitably makes; it’s the leap of faith we all make with our hopes. Will we make that leap with the jury-rigged parachute of sheets and ropes of self-created heroism, numbing self-compassion, false self-esteem, and denial of death? Or will we leap with only parachute that will truly save us? Once sin and death has been destroyed, we can finally be heroic, our worst enemy is dead; and our parachute lines are sized perfectly. We can face anything.

Speaker 1:

The background to this article was my fascination with the number of heroes the movie's released each year. There are scores of hero movies, especially if you include superheroes who have super powers , but you also include James Bond, the diehard kind of movies, Bruce Willis. And why is it they're so popular? I think part of it is that we all imagine ourselves being that hero, saving the world, maybe getting those accolades. That is certainly why I jumped off the roof. I simply wanted to be a hero and emulate those heroes. But as I get older, I realized that it's also because we do have a set of fears. We fear getting older. We feel getting , um, abandoned. We feel, we fear being unnoticed. We feel we've . We fear that our life will not be significant. It's like our courage is episodic because we have courage in some areas, but we don't have courage in other areas. It's , it's a historic fact that some world war II heroes who would charge a machine gun nest came home and they were just afraid to ever admit they were wrong.

Speaker 2:

There's people who have physical courage who lasts, lack emotional courage as people who have emotional courage, who lack physical courage, there's people who have , um, financial courage, but they would never take a risk in a relationship. We , we, we have different kinds of courage. So someone who looks courageous isn't necessarily courageous. And the reason is, is they're not facing their fear. Alfred Adler was a 20th century psychologist who said, quote, if you want to know your heart's greatest desire, what is most meaningful to you? What is your most single deepest, longing or primary drive in life? Look at your biggest nightmares and of quote , because our desires are different. So also will our fears be you might want to be the next CEO of your company and the person next to you is saying, [inaudible] shallow. All you want is career, but they want everybody's approval. They want everyone to like them and they will never do anything to, to lose somebody's approval. And the person sitting next to them goes, test is disk . I just want, you know , financial security. I don't want to be rich. I just don't want to be poor. Each one of us has a different kind of desire. And so we're not courageous, courageous in the things that we're not afraid of. So I guess I'm saying, what is that greatest fear? This is the area that God is calling to us in most loud that he's saying, I want to be that greatest desire. I don't want to just give you your greatest desires. I want to be your greatest desire. And in that moment and to the grieve that he is our greatest desire, we are fearless comment of the week, goes to Dr. Mike, Dr. Michael Knauer . I've known him for almost 10 years and he says, quote, I would recommend Tim Keller's growing my faith in the face of death. So the Atlantic it's an Atlantic article, March 7th to 2021 Keller puts in the face of, so Keller has recently been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. And what he says in there is quote, I spent a lifetime counseling others before my diagnosis, will I be able to take my own advice and have quote, you know, I'm so glad doctor never brought that up because I love the honesty of Keller's question. And it's a public honesty. I heard him say the same thing in another podcast called church balls, where color just says, I think that what I'm learning to do in this time is growing sanctification. And what he said sanctification meant was I'm just growing to be dependent on God. I think that was that's what God was calling me to do a sanctification that says I need him. That's why God is our greatest desire.

Speaker 1:

Thanks for this scenario. I hope to see you next week. God bless. Thanks for listening. Please join us by following this podcast or liking it, visit our website, beliefs of the heart back com for more articles, books, videos, podcasts, and courses, all designed to foster intimate theology, deepening the real relationship with the real God who is there. See you next week.