Then he told me something that didn't mean much to me at the time, but the more I've thought about the more I like it.
He looked down at his parachute as it flitted slightly in the wind and said, "It's okay, sometimes you learn more when you don't get off the ground."
The more I think of it the more this philosophy appeals to me.
Sometimes in life we stand with our backs to the cliff, our goals somewhere high above us and our parachutes lying flat on the ground, or perhaps rising with promise only to fall before they can carry us to new heights.
I think back on the many times in my life when I have failed to attain a goal I have set for myself and how often I have felt like a failure. I feel shame at these failures and I feel fear about facing future failures. In fact, last week in class we were asked to write our greatest fear on a sheet of paper. Not knowing these would be read aloud and the class would then attempt to guess the author of these little notes I wrote down "failure". Once I realized what was happening my note could have read "Having my note read aloud!" Fortunately, we ran out of time before my card was drawn and my top secret fear was revealed to the group.
I think the threat of failure will always bring fear for me, but I'm trying to look at not achieving my goals in a different light. I didn't fail; I just had a chance to learn more from the ground. Then, when I am able to leave the ground, I will have learned lessons I could never have learned while in the air.