Tuesday, May 22, 2012

A different view


Buying a pink bike at the age of sixty hasn’t been my only odd thing to do. Several years ago I jumped off the side of a mountain with a hang glider and a prayer. Granted, not one of my smartest moves. I felt reasonably safe though since the hang glider was hooked to a guide wire, a very long guide wire, which prevented me from getting too far off course never to be seen again.

Have you ever felt like life was passing you by?  That everyone was moving forward except you? Like your blood had dried in your veins?  That nobody cared?  Well, that's how I felt that hot summer day so long ago. We were on a family picnic in an area that hosted several ‘fun’ activities like a Nordic slide, a miniature racetrack, and putter golf. As our three children wrestled around my husband and me, jumping off picnic tables and spilling their drinks, I was just old enough to feel like I was becoming invisible; that I had no purpose; that beige was more colorful than me. Then, the shadow of a hang glider flew over me.

So, that very afternoon I found myself on the side of a mountain being strapped into a contraption made of aluminum and nylon.  Looking down at the specks that represented my family, I was just able to make out the apprehension and terror on their little faces.  That’s when it dawned on me:  I mattered to them. How could I have forgotten that?

The instructor told me to just run straight off the ramp and the glider would do the rest as long as I didn't lean too far left or right or hit the telephone poll that was planted in the ground right behind where my family stood. I gulped. As I started my wobbly run down that wooden ramp my life flashed before me, especially when the last step gave way to just air.

On the ground I felt a little silly. Thankfully, I landed just shy of the telephone poll, and practically into the laps of all my kids. Hopefully, not everyone has to jump off a mountain to be reminded they're loved and that their life isn't half bad. These day, all it takes is a three-mile bike ride on a gorgeous day. Still, a look from a different angle every once in a while can do wonders.


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