Making Room for the Extraordinary
Today I went skydiving.
I also bought a lampshade at Target and took our dog for a walk. It was an extraordinary, ordinary day.
The experience itself is probably beyond what words can describe – feet hanging out of the plane, the plummet, the free fall, remembering to keep my eyes open in the midst of the terror, pulling the orange cord for the parachute, and floating serenely over the incredible beauty that is Lake Michigan, Lake Macatawa, and Holland.
It is an intimate experience, a tandem jump. On the tiny airplane – barely big enough for 4 jumpers and the pilot – my tandem partner buckled me close. This is a critical thing because if you’re not tightly connected at hips as well as shoulders, your bodies will waggle in flight creating a propeller effect – not a good thing when falling from 10,000 feet. We were harnessed so closely I could feel him breath – each inhale and each exhale of this stranger in whose hands I had put my life.
My friend Holly and I were together for the jump, sharing the fear and the rush and the triumph of living to tell the tale. We were high-fiving each other throughout. We were gonna do this. We did this.
My whole family turned out for the event, including my mom. Wild horses couldn’t have kept her away and even though I’m much too old for my mom to be coming to my ‘school plays’ anymore, it was great to have her there – and to have the whole family there. Because doing something important (scary) should be a shared experience, and somehow having others witness an event makes it even more real.
So it was an exciting day – and an ordinary day. Because the lampshade from Target and the walk with our dog Lily were also important. I am grateful for the exciting things, and also for the mundane moments that make up an ordinary life.
We live in ordinary times and do ordinary things, but each experience is also extraordinary. Kids go back to school, finding their way to new friends (and old), new teachers, and new classes. We adults go to work each day, seeking to make an impact or seeking simply to do a good day’s work. As parents, we hug our children, we drive them to school, we hope they have a good day. We have coffee with friends. It’s all extraordinary really – these connections that make our lives.
We go about our days – buying mundane items at the store, taking an uneventful walk, or even jumping out of an airplane. Because every day should be this extraordinary – is this extraordinary – with its intimacy, its triumph, and its connections.