Sunday, September 18, 2005

Letting Go

LETTING GO TO SAVE OUR LIVES

I crouched in the doorway of the airplane, next to my skydiving coach.

I held on to the doorway with my right hand for balance. With my left hand, I firmly grasped my coach's gripper, a padded piece of cloth on his jumpsuit. It was up to me to give the count. "Ready, set." I heard a snicker. "Get out of the plane," someone hollered. "Go."

I released my grip on the door, closed my eyes, and dove head first into the air with my left hand firmly attached to my jump master's gripper. We wobbled around for a moment. The plan was, we would turn to face each other in the air, I would grab his other shoulder grip, get my balance, then I'd release him. He turned to face me. I grabbed his other grip. Now I was falling stable and holding on with both hands. He nodded, giving me my cue to let go. I shook my head, carefully, so as not to lose my balance. He looked confused, then nodded again. I shook my head again, clinging more tightly. I looked at my altimeter. Six thousand feet. Thank God. It was almost time to pull. I released my grips. I just let go. Obviously, I couldn't safely pull my ripcord while I was hanging on to him. It was time to save my own life. My coach backed away. I signaled, and then pulled my ripcord. My parachute made that sweet whooshing sound, the one I had come to identify as the sound it makes when it opens correctly and fills with air, slowing my fall into a float. Wow! I thought. This is really fun!

Sometimes we're so scared, all we can think to do is hang on. Hanging on in this case was a silly illusion. We were both falling through the air. Holding on to a relationship that's not working, a negative self-image, a job that isn't working, moments and times that have passed, or emotions such as fear and hurt can be silly illusion, too. To save our own lives, sometimes we have to let go first.

God, show me what I need to let go of, and when it's time to do that.

9 comments:

Trudging said...

Wow, most of us do not have such a clear analogy for our life in A.A. You are so right that holding on is just an illusion for us all. Alcoholic or not, in a way we are all free falling through life.

Grace said...

Great story, letting go is something I struggle with but am finding easier these days and very productive! BTW my blog has moved to: http://www.soberthoughts2.blogspot.com

muylajuana said...

Honey, this is great. It is well that it was published--Thanks, mijo.

muylajuana said...

The word verification this time is gzloli--which Scott W. and I have determined is a weirdly shaped Italian pasta.

Cisco said...

I really needed to hear or rather, read this today. THANK YOU!

Bar Bar A said...

Great post!

NMAMFQLMSH said...

Most excellent post. On the other hand I have decided to stop hanging around the crazy friend so much. But one hand keep telling me to go skydiving again.

Pat said...

That is a great story, and one which applies to every person whether they ever had a drink or not!

Emi said...

That was absolutely lovely, and I really enjoyed reading it.