On January 1, 2017 I jumped, but WHY? – By TRACY DAUGHERTY
It is very interesting listening to reactions after announcing to friends and family that you plan on jumping out of an airplane. I know from personal experience. Input, interest and concern came out of the woodworks when I told them I would be skydiving for the new year. People appeared not to be passive about the topic, however very passionate. A variety of comments ensued, such as, “I have always wanted to do that, maybe I will someday,” and “Are you nuts? Why in the world would you fall from a plane?!”
I also heard, “You know, I heard a news report, read on the Internet or watched on YouTube…” then the horrifying story began. There were also the more rational groups of people who advised me by saying, “Okay, here is what you need to know, when you jump, arch your back, drop your chin, throw your feet back, shut your mouth and plug your nose.” Tips and tools for the novice jumper came in intervals. I loved every minute of it — learning a lot about people and even more about myself. Feel free to keep the pointers coming. One thing is for sure: I enjoy them far more than I ever imagined I would.
To answer everyone’s questions as to why I jumped:
1. I wanted to. For years, I have thought about it, read about it and talked about it. It was finally time to put those thoughts into actions. I dream about flying at least once a week. For anyone who knows me well, you know that I truly do believe I will fly in heaven. Many people have no interest or even a thought about it, but for as long as I remember I have had no question that it will happen. I will FLY in heaven.
A few years ago I read and was inspired by the words of young teenage poet, Erin Hanson:
There is freedom waiting for you,
On the breezes of the sky,
And you ask, “What if I fall?”
Oh, but my darling,
What if you fly?
What if? Therefore, I determined that this year I would start getting some early practice for heaven. This jump, this year…LET’S FLY! I flew because I wanted to. Joie de vivre — Joy of Life!
2. 2016 was challenging. I am one of those people who value and welcome prophetic pictures. Memorials help bring meaning and insight to seasons and life experiences — they help me process. I still remember hiking in the Genesee Valley in the fall of 2015 with my husband. We were both strongly impressed by the Holy Spirit and what was revealed to us. 2016 would be a year of pruning, change and much transition. At the time I had no idea how deep those cuts would go, nor how much stronger I would be after they healed.
Between the college gradation of our daughter, a marriage, a high school graduation, many deaths of dearly loved church and family members, sending beloved staff members off to assignments with new destinies to fulfill, finding and purchasing our first owned church building and the growing pains that come with, unfamiliar twists and turns, nips and tucks from people, aches and pains and even some disappointments to boot, it was a year of lessons learned.
All this said, walking in the midst of a dimly lit path feels disillusioning at best sometimes. In spite of all this, I knew this was the time to jump. It was time to fly, see higher, get a clearer vision and remember what the Bible says: “Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory.” – Colossians 2:1-4. January 1, 2017 prophetically marks the day and is a memorial reminding for me of the position I am invited to. A position where He is in control and has a clear view to navigating my tomorrows with precision and expertise.
3. Keep it Spicy. Pastor Honey and I have been together 27 years, married and in ministry for 25. This means we have been on many dates, adventures and joint ventures. It takes effort to maintain the balance between mystery and fun. This year we needed this date. Just the two of us. As we are transitioning and kids are growing and we are more aware of this tribe ending the way it began – just the two of us.
At first I was reluctant to ask him to join me, knowing how he feels about heights. Knowing I have dragged him on other thrilling adventures (hiking, zip lining, ropes courses etc.), however, gave me faith. To my delight and surprise, he said yes! Everything about the day was spectacular. There was so much suspense and unknown between driving, training, taking off in the janky little plane, and strapping to our tandem trainer we barely new and now know very well – (hello Felipe from Brazil!).
As we waited, strapped up, wind blowing, door open to jump, we said our last “I love you” and then there we went… He jumped!
Best date EVER.
To close, I want to leave you with a short exhortation for the new year! I am certain that many of you do not share the same passion about skydiving, however my encouragement is this:
- Joie de vivre – Don’t forget the joys of life — what you love and what you dream. Do something because you want to; it produces wonder. In the grind of life, we forget what we want to do or what we love. This year, do at least one thing that brings joy, makes you feel alive and even feels wasteful and extravagant. It revives the heart.
- Don’t get stuck in the long middle. Remind yourself through scripture where God wants your head and heart. You have a daily invitation found in Colossians 2:1-4.
- Keep it spicy – keep dating your spouse, your friends and yourself. Mystery is important to life — don’t lose it. Take a risk. Surprise your loved one, a friend or yourself.
I love you, my sister friends and fellow daughters of the most high God. This year, live like royalty. We have so much to look forward to, and if anyone wants to jump with me I might just take you up on it. I LOVED IT. I AM GONNA FLY IN HEAVEN.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Native to Southern California, Pastor Tracy Daugherty heard the Lord call her to full-time ministry at age 15. She and her husband, Pastor Dan Daugherty, met in 1991 and have partnered in ministry for over 25 years. Together, they have pastored in Olympia, Washington and Fairfield, California. They now shepherd The Father’s House Church which they planted in 2003 in San Marcos, California. Their family includes their daughter Drew and husband Ryan, their son Dawson and their son Hudson.