Thursday, September 17, 2009


I love this story.  I need to let go and jump...

“God gives us endurance we need to face whatever situation life hands us…

When I was a young boy…I told people that my father was stronger than anyone else in the world…

In those days a cherry tree grew in our backyard. This was my hiding place. Ten feet above the ground, a stout limb made a horizontal fork; a cradle on which I could lie face down, reading, thinking, being alone. Nobody bothered me there. Even my parents didn’t know where I went to hide. Sometimes Daddy would come out and call, “Walllyyy? Walllyyyy?” but he didn’t see me in the leaves.

I felt very tricky.

Then came the thunderstorm…

One day, suddenly, a wind tore through the backyard and struck my cherry tree with such force that it ripped the book from my hands and nearly threw me from the limb. I locked my arms around the forking branches and hung on. My head hung down between them. I tried to wind my legs around the limb, but the whole tree was wallowing in the wind.

Daadddeeeeeee!” I cried.

There he was… The branches swept up and down, like huge waves on an ocean – and Daddy saw me, and right away he rushed out in the wind and weather, and I felt so relieved because I took it for granted that he would just climb right up that tree and get me.

But that wasn’t his plan at all.

He came to a spot right below me, lifted his arms and shouted, “Jump.”


“Jump. I’ll catch you.”

Jump? I had a crazy man for a father. He was standing six or seven MILES beneath me, holding up two skinny arms and telling me to jump. If I jumped, he’d miss. I’d hit the ground for sure and die…

But the wind and rain slapped that cherry tree, bent it back, and cracked my limb at the trunk. I dropped a foot. My eyes flew open. Then the wood whirled and splintered and sank, and so did I, in bloody terror.

No, I did not jump. I let go. I surrendered.

I fell.

In a fast, eternal moment I despaired and plummeted. This, I thought, is what it’s like to die.

But my Father caught me. . .

Now in such a storm the tree which was our stable world is shaken, and instinct makes us grab it tighter; by our own strength we grip the habits that have helped us in the past, repeating them, believing them. We’d rather trust what is rather than what might be; that is, our power, our reason and feeling and endurance…We spend a long time screaming NO!. . .

But always, God is present. God has always been present. And it is God who says, “Jump.”

By Walt Wangerin, Jr.

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