February 23, 2006

Learning to Fly

"Flying is learning how to
throw yourself at the ground and miss"
Douglas Adams

Having moved so many times in my life (6 states and 18 different places I called home before I was 30), I have learned the need to jump in and start. I have learned to take that leap of faith and throw myself hurling toward the ground with the faith and hope that I will soar and fly before I fall and hit the ground.

I fall A LOT and hitting the ground at full speed is truthfully both embarrassing and quite painful. But oh in those moments I miss the ground and take off in flight! Now those moments make all the pain worthwhile and the embarrassment a long forgotten fairytale.

While the list of crashing into the ground is longer than my flights - these crashes are not the ones I recall now. Rather I remember that first moment I rode a bike, the first time I jumped off the high diving board, when I flew downhill on rollerblades without crashing, when I floated across the Hudson with my crew teammates, the first time I won a debate tournament, the moment I accepted Christ, when I was finally caught by my husband and we flew off into the sunset, as I watched my daughters first steps, saw her learn to read, found a place I can really call home, made my first true friends. These are the success stories, these moments of flight, however long or short lived they may be.

Every single one of these success stories has one thing in common. Each and every one required that I take a risk. The risk was simply that I jump, and hurl myself into the unknown without any absolute assurances, with no knowledge if I will crash and burn or if I will succeed. Yet the simple knowledge of that sheer joy and blessing that comes from those moments of flying inspires me to leap each time.

There's no sensation to compare with this
Suspended animation, A state of bliss.
-Pink Floyd "Learning to Fly"

Each move I have made required a jump. Each day we all face choices and have to make decisions about the way we approach those moments. To be sure walking is safe, standing still even easier, both give a false sense of security that is hard to argue with. Yet neither of these choices gives me the exhilaration of soaring on wings like the eagles of Isaiah 40:31. This exhilaration comes only when we are truly flying.

As we watch the Olympians this week - we watch them fly, we also watch them fall. As they fly and as they fall they are living and acting with purpose and intentionality. They allow themselves to be stretched and inspired to jump. I heard it described this way of some of the extreme ski-jumpers "They have to convince their bodies to do what their minds tell them is sure suicide". Isn't that how we often feel as we throw ourselves into the unknown. These athletes when they fall, they fall hard to be sure, but that fall is done with such passion and purpose. Then we watch these Olympic champions have the stamina to get up and start again because they know this very next time may be the moment they fly. These moments of flight, no matter how short-lived they may be, these moments are cherished, treasured and a reason we keep throwing ourselves at the ground with the hope and faith that this will be the moment we fly.

As homeschoolers don't we face the same struggle each and every day? It takes risk to homeschool your child. There certainly are moments we feel we come crashing into the cement with full speed and full force. In those moments we feel the pain and we feel a bit of embarrassment at some of our choices or abilities. Still we need to recall all those moments that we soar. All the moments we were rewarded and blessed for the sheer audacity it took to just do it. We need, like the Olympians, to get up, dust off, and finish the race, confident that this next moment is the moment we have to shine and experience the exhilaration of flight.

This is how I just jump in each day. The confidence I have is not in myself or in the perfection of the situation around me. My confidence, faith and hope lies in the wind I know that God has already put under my wings to ensure I fly to the places He wants me to be and I fall in the places He needs me to. All I can do is trust, jump, and throw myself hurling toward the ground at full speed with passion, purpose, intentionality and God confidence. Remember you will never fly without taking the risk so let yourself be inspired to jump!



  1. How True! I have recently taken the jump into a unit study with my kids and we are soaring like eagles:)

  2. Wow! Tenniel - that was great! Thanks! I am quite familiar with crashing, as well, but like you, I get back up and fly again each day. Twenty years of soaring and crashing and soaring again! Blessings ~ Patricia