Aug 31, 2012, 10:40 AM
Post #1 of 12
I made my first (tandem) jump last weekend as the guest of a friend. I need hardly say it was an astonishing experience! My instructor said I was the only skydiving monk he knew of, which piqued my curiosity.
Are there any nuns or monks out there whose first jump was not their last? Any who have gone on to get a license? I'd be very interested to learn something of your story!
The idea of gaining more skydiving experience appeals to me very much, but given the nature of monastic life that may be impracticable. Some people seem surprised by this aspiration because of the perceived dangers of skydiving, but insofar as I have any qualms about the sport they're environmental (aviation is not particularly "green") and monetary (a monk should try to live simply and skydiving is pretty expensive).
I'm a 34-year-old Benedictine monk of St. Andrew's Abbey in Valyermo, CA. I made my solemn monastic profession and was ordained deacon earlier this summer. I'm studying for the priesthood. My dad is a pilot so I spent a fair amount of time in airplanes growing up, but he's somewhat averse to jumping out of them!
Thank you! I would love to start making training jumps and have had some energetic encouragement from a number of laypeople associated with our monastery (including one passionate recently-licensed skydiver) and some slightly more reserved encouragement from a monk or two. So we'll see!
It'll depend on the Abbot's permission (he tries to support monks' interests, but...) and on some more bluntly practical considerations (I'm not sure, e.g., that this would fall within the scope of the Abbey's educational budget and we renounce all personal property at solemn profession - which feels remarkably like jumping out of an airplane!).
I've actually found that even my one jump has enriched and refreshed my monastic life. During freefall there was a sense of being at home in God's world, a sense of trust in the mystery that's behind it all, that was without parallel in my previous experience. The prospect of plummeting through the air has always terrified me (the stuff of nightmares!) but when I was actually doing so fear seemed entirely out of place and was forgotten; the air itself, rushing by, felt friendly and supportive somehow. But this probably isn't the place for vaguely mystical musings! I just find all this very exciting.
Thanks for the welcome, MikeJD! I'm certainly not trolling in the malicious sense; and I hope I'm not in the off-topic sense but I'm not a very good judge of that.
Well, as you freely admit, a monk who wants to jump is a bit unusual. Some people create personas that are different to generate responses.
There is one well known (infamous?) poster on here who was perma-banned a long time ago. He shows up from time to time, often using an attractive woman as an avatar pic, posting "inviting" comments to stir up the pot.
If you had said that you were a novice nun who had decided not to take her vows, had found skydiving and was wondering which DZ had the hottest guys...
I'd know who you were.
And don't worry too much about being on topic. If you are too far off, the thread will get moved. The mods are pretty laid back until you repeatedly cause trouble.
And I agree with the sprituality aspect of the sport that you've found. I know a few people who have had similar experiences.
And there's an old story that a group of jumpers landed off the DZ, landed in a field and walked to the road. Standing by the side of the road, waiting for someone to come get them, a car pulled over. Instead of offering a ride, the little old lady in the car berated them, asking why they weren't in church on a Sunday morning. One responded "Lady, 5 minutes ago we were closer to God than you will ever be."
No, MikeJD, I don't purport to be a glamorous ex-nun, but it's helpful to know about the perma-banned poster you mention. If anyone is really in doubt about my identity, just give the Abbey a ring or stop by!