Parachute: Learning to Fly

Welcome to the world, he says, when I carefully part the branches for him to see.

There are only three and so we know. One of the hatchlings did not make it. But this somber knowledge gives way to joy as the babies detect our presence and, mistaking us for mother, open mouths wide for a snack.

We laugh and stand, gawking through the tree limbs at new life.

So fragile. So fresh.

I make room for these balls of fuzz today…scoot over to let in wonder. It’s good to let awe break up the day—interrupt the usual.

I don’t always.

I live a disciplined life. There are the chores, the husband, the children, the dogs, the running…I read my Bible and have prayer time. I do what I am supposed to do.

I have always done what I am supposed to do.

But to soar?

There is never enough time.

Does discipline allow it? When every minute is scheduled and planned? Will I fly if I keep regular spiritual practices?

My pastor used to say, We like to be prepared. But we like to leave room for the Holy Spirit to move too.

I ponder these things at 5 a.m. as I sit at the kitchen table. Outside the window is dark and my tired eyes get lost in the lightness of mist lifting through the morning hues.

I am tired.

I scribble for a time in this journal, eyes heavy, heart limp.

Why is it so hard?

I am tired. Weary to the bone of feeling pulled apart sinew by sinew–stretched thin by what is needed and what I desire. I end up on the couch after half an hour—notes incoherent. As I drift I am aware of that sinking feeling. I have failed again. I tell Him about it. Ask Him to take the tired away.

He doesn’t quite. But He nudges me to remember. And these words speak:

…if there is any rule at all, it is listen. But the direction and the path can change…My job is not so much to practice a rigid set of disciplines as to pay attention…On a practical level, this means that though I’ll take time to read and learn about spiritual practices of various kinds, I decide not to be married to particular ones as The Only Path. Instead, I’ll see what comes….
(L.L. Barkat in God in the Yard)

So I wait. And I listen. And I feel the air catch under me as this attempt to fly ends up on the couch.

If I could decide my own spiritual program I would rise when my body tells me to. I would spend as much time as I wanted, lingering over scripture. Then I would take it to Him and we would chat long and loose about all the stories my eyes took in. I would share some poetry with Him. And then we would run. I wouldn’t worry about work, or laundry, or if there is enough food in the cupboard for dinner. I would put on music and we would dance…there would be no concept of time and no one in my life to interrupt my prayer and meditation.

But there is. I have this family. And this job. And these dogs. And there is much that needs doing to keep things in order. There is work to do and food to prepare. There are bodies to maintain and floors to sweep.

This is my life.

So I jump. Time and time again…only to feel my wings too weak—fuzzy and impotent. The flight is aborted.

But I won’t worry about that anymore. See…I have this built in Parachute. When I start to fall, He catches me—whips up with just a tiny breath. 

Welcome to the world, He breathes. I won’t let you fall.

And I land soft. I land safe.

Safe for another try.

This was written in response to week 2 of L.L. Barkat’s book God in the Yard: spiritual practice for the rest of us. I will be posting about my journey through this book as the Spirit moves. Join me if you wish! We’re all in this together…


  1. says

    It is wonderful to be disciplined. This coming from one who is not. Flying too often accomplishes very little and you still wind up fatigued. But I agree that one needs to be lifted by the Spirit from the daily routine to experience all that the Lord has for us. And now, I must be more disciplined.
    Thank you for sharing in such a beautiful way.
    From my heart to yours,

  2. says

    Oh Laura, I wish life could be lived like that too – with no demands and no time constraints. I am trying to imagine what Jesus’ days were like. I know that He said He did nothing apart from the Father’s will. What do you think that meant for Him? Were there moments when He wished to shake off the hangers-on and just have time to “be?”
    There is so much to think about in what you’ve written. I’m pondering…

  3. says

    do you think that maybe flying looks different in different stages of life? Today, maybe flying is the diapers and dishes. Doing our work where He has placed us, glorifying Him with the work of our hands, and enjoying the moments of sweetness as He gives them to us. Maybe if we could see our daily routine as walking with Him, dancing with Him even, we would find ourselves flying before we knew it . . .

  4. says

    This is exquisite writing, and I am moved on so many levels. I relate, oh how I relate to this!

    I have got to read LL’s new book — I just finished Stone Crossings (starting with her earlier works!)

  5. says

    “there would be no concept of time”

    I think that is what Sabbath tries to give us. I think maybe it’s a little bit of heaven. I wish I had said that in my book. Well, it was good of you to give me the words now in any case… 🙂

  6. says

    Ahh…we are on opposite sides of the spectrum…often I need more discipline. I’m not much for should’s…kind of don’t like the word much. Looking at the life He has given us…led us to…we embrace the love and know that He is faithful even when we’re not and He loves no matter how loveable we are…thank God we can hear Him in any given moment….it is quite a life…balancing all and there we must find peace with Him, for He knows,He sees…He loves…US…so amazing. Even in this new empty nest season of my queenly life I find myself lacking in my pursuit…always good that we are hungry…not for fulfilling the should’s but hungry for abiding….hmmm, your posts often send me pondering to these areas in my own life….and onward we go.

  7. says

    …not so much a time of flailing, but of resting in His hands, renewing for the flight He is readying us for.

    Thank you for sharing your journey through LL’s book. It is a gift to follow you along the path.


  8. says

    I find that different disciplines have taken on different significance during different stages in life. I so resonate with your desire for “perfect discipline” which looks NOTHING like your real life. That’s where I often find myself. So I just keep going, looking to Jesus for the disciplines he knows I need.

  9. says

    When you looked at the hatchlings and your heart thrilled, that was soaring, if only for that moment. But a moment counts as time, too. And you get to carry the moment with you all day.

  10. says

    I think “flying” here on earth just looks different. We are made for Heaven. We will have eternity for worship, full flight pursuits and Divine revelation of scripture.
    Flying here looks like a hard belly laugh with your kids, finishing a task well, releasing wounds for healing and being willing to receive the healing He so lovingly offers…
    I think that is what flying looks like here – on earth.

    Your words resonate in my spirit… soaring at the kindred nature of our hearts. 🙂

  11. says

    “But to soar?

    There is never enough time.

    Does discipline allow it? When every minute is scheduled and planned? Will I fly if I keep regular spiritual practices?”

    I like this post a lot.
    I was JUST thinking about this question this morning, too, Laura!

    What I came up with… is a prayer… a request for Jesus to show me… how did He carry the quiet within Him, when He was surrounded by ministry day in and day out. When He was dog tired, weary, and sleep deprived.

    I am asking Him, because the times I linger and drift, it’s sublime.

    But, I know that is not everyday, real life.

    I think of Mother Theresa too — such an active life — but, also what a rich inner quiet life.

    I will be waiting to see what He tells me… and share… just as you have so beautifully.

  12. says

    I think we can soar, even in the midst of the structure.

    Liturgy …

    Liturgy is “the work of the people” and within the order of liturgy and life, you can soar right there, too.

    (And even within liturgy of life, there is room to explore the unexpected baby birds!)

    Bless you, sister. You SOAR!

  13. says

    every said what I’m thinking,

    except I am not much of a routine person.
    I can’t function like that . Or my soul can’t and it ‘s a downward spiral. If I feel like scraping moss out form between patio stones in 30 degree heat right through lunch and ignoring the phone , I do. If I feel like finishing a book and going to bed without cleaning the kitchen I do.

    It used to torment me , doing what I thought being a good girl meant. I can’t anymore.

    I am married to someone kind of opposite… it works.

    ( I hope that doesn’t come across wrong, I have a dog, the kids, commitments etc…. you know what I mean right? )

    And I wish there wasn’t something I could do to make you less tired. I feel it when you say it. I’ve been there, am there sometimes. love you .

  14. says

    “But I won’t worry about that anymore. See…I have this built in Parachute. When I start to fall, He catches me—whips up with just a tiny breath.”

    thanks for this reassurance. Lately I feel like I have been free-falling.

    I am anxious to get my copy of one of LL Barkat’s book(s)….

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