Who Is Packing Your Parachute?
By Marty Norman
“ …Guard what has been entrusted to your care.” I Timothy 6:20 NIV
Recently I read a great article about a navy pilot. Shot down over Vietnam, he was forced to eject and parachute right into enemy hands, where he spent five years in an enemy prison camp.
Many years later he met a man at a restaurant who came to shake his hand. This man had been his “parachute packer”. Assigned to the bowels of the ship he carefully and laboriously packed parachutes for those above, those who would be flying on mission, carrying his parachutes as a safety net in times of danger.
We all have “parachute packers”, those who under gird us while we are out and about the business of living. I think about those who have been my “parachute packers”: my parents, grandparents, priests, friends, and spiritual mentors. They are the glue that hold my life together, who have kept me buoyed between heaven and earth. I am the person I am because of them, because they took the time and energy to pack my parachute and pour into me.
In these days, it is important to think about whose parachutes we are packing. To ask ourselves the question, who am I under girding? Is there anyone I am holding up?
For me the answer is my kids and grandkids, and the women I mentor. But am I intentional in my decision to pour myself into them? Do I pour out upon those God has placed in my path?
I think of Lily my granddaughter. At eight she is more than precious. Full of life and laughter she experiences joy with each new day. When she was born I told my friends that she was a “child of joy”.
Recently she called me on the phone. “Marme, where are you”, her plaintiff voice cried into my answering machine. “I want to talk to you because you are not here, and I miss you.”
Does that tear at a grandmother’s heart or what? It makes me want to pick up stakes and move to Austin. But that is not in the realm of reason. Instead I must be thankful for the time we have together. She grows so quickly. Scheduling time with her is one of the best investments I will ever make.
Clearly I am one of her “parachute packers”. Nothing pleases me more than to listen and spend time with her. I love it when I am there to help her with her homework, to take her shopping, to buy her the things of the heart not the things of necessity.
The best I can give Lily is time spent with a loving father as he pours himself into me. The more I am filled up with the spirit of the living God, the more I am able to pour into her.
The Lord has been packing my parachute for years. So far, he has never let me down, for I have yet to plummet to earth without a safety net or a way out. What the Lord has done for me I can now do for others, especially those in my nuclear and extended families.
Parachutes are a good thing. You don’t use them until YOU NEED THEM! Thank God for swift hands and full hearts that stay in the bowels of the ship doing the work that will one day carry others in the heavenly realm.
So get out your parachutes and begin packing. Parachute Packer 101 is now in session.
Marty Norman is a wife, mother, and grandmother of five, who lives in Fort Worth, Texas. She is the author of “Generation G – Advice for Savvy Grandmothers Who Will Never Go Gray.” You can learn more about her at: www.martynorman.com, http://martynorman.blogspot.com, http://savvygrandmothers.blogspot.com.