July 9, 2010: Jumping into the hands of an angel, by Chato Rael

July 9, 2010 by

“I cannot believe what is going to happen,” I think on the ride to the tarmac.

“Are you serious, Chato Rael?” I ask myself.

But it is going to happen, and I am serious: Today I’m going skydiving for the first time. My colleagues, friends and buddies building wind turbines had talked me into this, but ultimately I made this decision myself. So here I am, Jell-O on the way to jump out of a plane.

We finally reached our destination, and I thought of being closer to my dad, who is in heaven. He’s up there. I remembered something he said when I wrecked my pretty good pick up truck: “It’s the nut in the rut, that’s why I wrecked.”

Damn, they ask me to sign a release, and I feel a combination of excitement, pain and panic that indescribable.

“A release?” I ask my friend,             and he says, “If it is your time to go, it’s your time to go.”

“OK then,” I tell myself, “This could be it for one second or a lifetime.”

The instructor reminds me, “Arch your back and bend your knees, this will help you stabilize.  Chew some bubble gum so your ears do not pop.  Watch the altimeter, and when we hit 5,000 feet we can deploy the slow-down.”

“What’s the slow-down?” I ask.

The instructor laughs — it seems to me a demonic laugh — and says, “You don’t want to fall forever, do you?”

The plane takes off like any other plane takes off, as though there was nothing out of the ordinary about this flight. After we’re airborne, my friends stand in the big wide door like little minnows in a fish’s mouth at feeding time, yelling with excitement and anticipation.

We circle and circle and I feel like I am being tickled.  I see the earth nice, warm, and round. This moment in time not everyone can see.  Looking out of the windows of the plane, I now know what a bird can see and all I want to do is flee!

Flee.  Is that not funny? The door opens on the plane and all of a sudden all I want to do is flee.  My heart is a drum in my chest as the instructor tells me to stand and step out.

“Step what?” I ask.

“I think put your foot on the step under the wing and let go of the door!” echoes another jumper.

My mind and body tell me this is not right. Letting go is no easy task for a human body 10,000 feet off the ground.

The only thing I can really remember is to arch my back, bend my knees and watch the altimeter.  We are going to jump on one, two, three.

I’m like a dog hanging out of a car window as the wind blasts my face.  The noise of the plane and wind is loud.

“Daddy, are you here?”

Then all I hear is,

“One.”

“Two.”

And that’s it.  No return.

We are falling, fast, too fast for my kind of blood.  Five thousand feet gone, and there is no account of the time to get here. Then, poof, the chute opens like the hands of an angel.

I know the angel is Frank Rael Jr., my dad. And I know I am safe. I am at peace.

— Chato Rael is a student at Cloud County Community College.

Comments

2 Responses to “July 9, 2010: Jumping into the hands of an angel, by Chato Rael”

  1. Jodi Creten on June 28th, 2011 3:25 pm

    Excellent reflection, and a good reminder of trust and knowing that one is surrounded by the communion of saints!

  2. Frank Fletcher on June 28th, 2011 12:22 am

    This article caught my attention and stirred a memory as I knew a Frank Rael when I was in the US Army, though he was much senior to me. He did have children and I recall a young boy that would be about the age that Chato appears to be now. If this is the same family I would like to be in touch as his father was very kind to me and I would like to definitely like to reconnect. There is a definite spiritual message here and I remember Frank Rael as a spiritual man.

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