Your Parachute

My favorite poet and his bride have returned to Paris, and my life is slowly returning to it’s daily rhythms. I’m working this weekend, so I won’t have a chance to visit as many of you as I would like, but I promise to play catch-up as soon as I can. In the meantime, a good friend sent me the following, and I thought it was worth sharing with the rest of you. Hope you are all enjoying your August days.
Your Parachute

Charles Plumb was a US Navy jet pilot in Vietnam. After 75 combat missions, his plane was destroyed by a surface-to-air missile. Plumb ejected and parachuted into enemy hands. He was captured and spent 6 years in a communist Vietnamese prison. He survived the ordeal and now lectures on lessons learned from that experience!

One day, when Plumb and his wife were sitting in a restaurant, a man at another table came up and said, "You’re Plumb! You flew jet fighters in Vietnam from the aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk . You were shot down!"

"How in the world did you know that?" asked Plumb.

"I packed your parachute," the man replied. Plumb gasped in surprise and gratitude. The man pumped his hand and said, "I guess it worked!" Plumb assured him, "It sure did. If your chute hadn’t worked, I wouldn’t be here today."

Plumb couldn’t sleep that night, thinking about that man. Plumb says, "I kept wondering what he had looked like in a Navy uniform: a white hat; a bib in the back; and bell-bottom trousers. I wonder how many times I might have seen him and not even said ‘Good morning, how are you?’ or anything because, you see, I was a fighter pilot and he was just a sailor." Plumb thought of the many hours the sailor had spent at a long wooden table in the bowels of the ship, carefully weaving the shrouds and folding the silks of each chute, holding in his hands each time the fate of someone he didn’t know.

Now, Plumb asks his audience, "Who’s packing your parachute?" Everyone has someone who provides what they need to make it through the day. He also points out that he needed many kinds of parachutes when his plane was shot down over enemy territory — he needed his physical parachute, his mental parachute, his emotional parachute, and his spiritual parachute. He called on all these supports before reaching safety.

Sometimes in the daily challenges that life gives us, we miss what is really important. We may fail to say hello, please, or thank you, congratulate someone on something wonderful that has happened to them, give a compliment, or just do something nice for no reason. As you go through this week, this month, this year, recognize people who pack your parachutes.

I am sending you this as my way of thanking you for your part in packing my parachute.


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16 Responses to Your Parachute

  1. Jane says:

    You always inspire thought and provide many reasons to smile 🙂 Thank you for posting this, may I pass the story along?

  2. Heidi says:

     Wow.  I love this story.  As I was reading this I was watching a story on FOX NEWS (which is usual on in my house somewhere) a special on World War !! focused on Japanese-Americans and FDR\’s decision to put them into camps after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.  I guess it made the story all the more poignant.  Anyhow the lesson this man was able to grasp from this is exactly what we all need to grasp.  Have you ever posted on Flying Monkeys – it was started by Stephen our Painter/Poet?  If so – you should post it there!  If not and you\’d be interested in doing so, please let me know – or I could do it for you.
    *BTW…The fact that you don\’t watch so much TV tells me that you probably know MUCH more of the world than someone that does…*smile*

  3. LORI says:

    Wow, Jorge, what an amazing testament and reminder for us all. I really liked this entry.
    Thank you for posting it.
    Too bad you have to work this weekend though.

  4. Deborah says:

    Jorge by working this weekend, whose parachute might you be packing.  You are amazing!  You certainly make me smile with each visit.  Your comment there gave me much to think about.  Now I am off to run some errands, and hopefully I will find time to blog this evening.
    Blessed be, 

  5. Michelle says:

    Thanks for making me stop and smile and as always, THINK! I am a bit nervous this weekend. We go for the immigration interview next week. Don\’t know what to expect. Trying to be positive \’cos we know we love each other. 🙂
    Thanks for the comment on the spanish learning blog. I hope it will help me to practice and others to learn.

  6. dawn says:

    very nice 🙂

  7. Joe says:

     I lack a parachute…& blindly step off the precipice.

  8. Holy says:

    And for your part in packing my parachute?  thank you. gracias. merci. shakria. danke schon.  I speak for the rest of your devoted GF blog followers, too, I think.  It\’s a veritable parachute packing class.

  9. Bittersweet on-the-hill. says:

    Good morning Jorge……
    This was a nice read……and oh….so true.  We forget the many people that help us make it through the day.  What is interesting about these blog spaces is how affirming positive comments can be.  We all need affirmation and sometimes it is some small thing we say here that gives us that response that adds a smile to our faces. 
    I\’m glad life is getting back to \’normal\’ for you. As if life can ever be normal!  There is always something to surprise us around the corner!  Laughing with you.
    The puppy is keeping us busy. More work than I ever recall.  Does that mean we\’re getting older?????
    I\’m planning on a barn sale this weekend.  Hoping to clear out a fair amont of stuff that has sat there for years.
    Be well.  Take care.  Bittersweet 

  10. Gelert says:

    Jorge – yes. I really needed to read this today, and you are so right. I am missing a couple of my parachute packers – they were lost to the great packer in the sky, but I feel their loss. I also know that like him, I fail to appreciate the other ones still in my life, and also that there are others I don\’t deserve. Thanks for this post today. Always something here that makes coming to see you worthwhile – but hey, I\’d come to see you anyway, even if you didn\’t pay dividends.  

  11. Fenix says:

    Hello Jorge
    I am working these days, but Iwill spend some days in September
    Very nice, your post made me smile

  12. Betty says:

    Hi Jorge,
    Thank you for sharing this inspiring story.  Thanks also for the blog on hospice.  During Dean\’s treatment we met quite a few oncologists – most were competent and a few were exceptional in their ability to relate on a human plane.  Hospice was a bright light in an otherwise dim world.  Thank you for informing folks that hospice can be there for us long before the patient becomes moribund.
    Don\’t work too hard.

  13. PJ says:

    Good Evening Jorge,
    Has been awhile since my last visit. Yes, I am still working as hard as you are..I am sure. LOL. My vacation starts the 18th of September. It is almost here. Yippeeeeeee. It is a well deserved one for me.
    Also I wanted to thank you for your heart-felt comment about Miss Mattie. I am sorry to say..I updated the entry since you have been back and Miss Mattie passed away Friday the 3rd of August. It is very difficult, as you are most aware. Will take some time for me to heal. I will always have her in my heart.
    well, back to work for me. Please take care and it is always a pleasure to visit here and read about your loving family. Thank you, Jorge.
    Until next time…Keep Smiling.

  14. CM says:

    absolutely beautiful.  you pack my parachute every time you visit my blog and I always look forward to coming here… thank you.. hugs, mtgal 

  15. zizicmp3 says:

    hello Jorge I pass to wish you a good end of weeek-end!!!me I have just returned of vacances.j\’ ens profit to make a small cuckoo of Francesincere friendships olive-tree has soon 

  16. Lisa says:

    One of the things that causes tension between myself and other service providers is that I tend to minimize the distance there is between us, as the professionals, and them, as the client.  I\’ve always felt that there is far less different between us as humans than we, as the "educated" professionals would like to believe.  Not exactly the theme of this posting, but it feels very similiar and I suddenly feel a need to tell some foundational people in my life thank you ….

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