Maribeth Dunlap Dressage

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2023 New Year's Day Jump Pt.2 - The Dragonfly

Posted on January 2, 2023 at 12:25 PM

2023 New Year's Day Jump Pt.2 - The Dragonfly

By Maribeth Dunlap

January 2nd, 2023


Happy New Year!  So, the day came and went.  I jumped.  It was amazing, exhilarating, beautiful.  I jumped in Sebastian Florida right along the coastline of the Atlantic.  We climbed to 13,500’ so the free fall was a full 60 seconds.  I wasn’t nervous. I was more concerned about how my body would react with the recent digestive issue.  I wore my Wonder Woman earrings and a gold chain that was my mothers.  I wore the same “Love at First Flight” pink t-shirt that I wore during my first jump in 2016 - my birthday jump with the most amazing person in my world; my kiddo.


Climbing up to altitude, I was in the Caravan with 12 other people.  Two were tandems and the rest solo free fallers.  We all sat on the belly of the plane - all seats except for the pilots - were removed.  We sat straddling each other.  The wind whipped about the plane and the noise of the engines drowned most voices.  My dear friend was in the plane with me - a seasoned free-faller - he sat closer to the exit door.  I was pensive; full of my own thoughts, and the others in the plane worked at bringing out my smile and light-heartedness.  I discovered that when we boarded that plane, we became a community, a family.  We were all there for each other.  They were there for me as I was there for them.  I am so grateful for the smiles, thumbs up, and effort they all took to make the experience fantastic and memorable for all.  A community; a family.  Loving and supportive.  I will be forever grateful for them, my Dragonfly family on that 1st day of a new year in that Caravan.


We were given the 1-minute signal as we reached altitude.  The energy in that plane was palpable.  Then we were given the GO.  The free fallers climbed out of the exit door and 4 of them hung clinging to the edges of the door.  It was beautiful to watch.  It was inspiring.  It was glorious.  Then they left go and were gone.  Then the next set, and the next.  The tandem in front of me inched their way to the door.  I watched as she hung her legs out the door into the sky and then they were gone.  I was next.  We inched our way to the opening.  I hung my legs out of the door.  Pulled my chin up and laid my head back into Tyler’s, my tandem instructor, shoulder, arched my back, and in a count of 3, we rolled forward and out into space.  Flipping and tumbling beautifully into space.  The sensations were amazing.  The wind, its force, the chill of the air, the breathtaking beauty that surrounded me, free-falling, giving myself to the openness, and falling.  Freedom.  Letting go.  Trusting once again.  Oh, how glorious.  


Tyler was amazing.  We did spins in our free-fall.  We had fun with hand gestures.  It was amazing.  Then the chute opened and up we went.  Then we floated back toward Mother Earth.  Oh, how beautiful and breath-taking.  The coastline of the Atlantic before us.  We played with the chute and the wind.  We stalled the chute and danced in the wind.  We spun and played.  It was incredible.  I laughed and yahooed all the way down.  We landed beautifully, Tyler easing my landing as he used his body to protect me.  Protected me.  How lovely.  Logan, my videographer, fell with us and captured the jump to preserve the memory for me.  Such wonderful people who come into my life for a reason.  I’m grateful.


As we landed the adrenaline was pumping through my body.  There are no words that can really capture that feeling.  It was amazing.  Pumped.  I was pumped.  Bewildered.  I was bewildered.  Excited.  I was beyond excited.  Oh, the possibilities that jump represented.  Oh, the possibilities.  They are truly endless.  


After the jump, we said our quick good-byes and I made the long trip across the state of Florida alone.  All the exciting emotions and adrenaline had left my body and I felt satisfied and at peace with myself.  Peace.  There was a new feeling of something inside me; something new.  I’m not sure if I can find the right words to define it.  But there were other feelings inside me; peacefulness, perhaps a bit of melancholy, acceptance, a feeling of being alone but not really alone, incredible strength, power, independence, hopefulness, patience and trust.  


Perhaps the jump helped me to truly arrive at a place God intends for me to be right now; whatever and wherever that is.  God will show me the next steps in His time.


The setting sun before me was like a fire in the sky, full of color.  It was stunning.  As I drove west into the night, I continued to process my jump.  I don’t jump because it is something I feel a passion for.  I don’t jump because I’m looking for a new hobby.  I jump for a reason.  And I believe that my jumps are not complete until I ponder the true reason behind the jump.  Why did I jump?  As I drove into the night I pondered about the “why” behind my jump. 


I drove directly to my sister, Diane’s.  She had prepared our traditional New Year’s Day meal, pork, sauerkraut, mashed potatoes, sweet corn and crescent rolls.  I had almost forgotten it was the first day of a New Year.  2023.  


I got there late and fixed myself a plate.  We chatted briefly about my jump, I ate my meal, thanked them, and drove home.  I drove back to my home.  My home: a place I feel at peace and can rest.  My home, even if only temporary: a shelter and a place where I feel safe and secure.  I unpacked, showered, and lay down on my comfortable cozy bed.  I said my prayers and fell fast to sleep.


I woke up the next morning early and lying in my bed I thought again about why I jumped.  Why did I jump this time?  And then quite suddenly the veil was lifted as the truth came.  I jumped because I needed to feel some sort of significance to my life.  All the things I wrote about above - acceptance, patience, trust, gratitude, Letting Go/Letting God, hope, humility, love - are wonderful positive things; things I do feel, believe, and hope for.  But there was one final thing: perhaps the true ‘why’ behind my jump.  I jumped because of the pain I have been running from.  I jumped because of the pain.  I jumped because I needed to feel that I matter somewhere in this world.  I jumped because I needed to feel something.  I jumped because I needed an outward sign that I do matter.  I jumped because I matter to me.  I jumped because I matter to God.


The end of 2021 was the beginning of something new for me; a new relationship that I put all my hope in.  2022 was to be the continuation of that hope.  It was supposed to be a culmination of everything that this person and I had been planning and working toward - a new beginning for both of us, a relationship, a partnership, a union, and something that was to be so wonderful that nothing could break.  We were to begin a life together in a new home.  We made so many wonderful plans.  I believed they would all come true.  But the pressure was too great and it blew us apart, and a hurricane ultimately scattered the remaining pieces.  Then chaos ensued.  


My 60th birthday came and went in 2022.  It was significant purely because of its insignificance.


Still, … why did I jump?


I jumped because I put everything I had in something that didn’t grow.


I jumped because I wanted to make my 60th birthday mean something to me.


I jumped because of the pain.  I jumped despite the pain.  A declaration to myself - that I still matter!  I can persevere and over-come all that life throws at me.  I can and I will, because of the One who matters most.


I jumped because I matter; I matter to the One who matters most.  


I jumped because I have finally given everything over to God.  

Categories: Personal Musings

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