The Crazy Things We Do – Part One

The Craziest Thing I’ve Ever Done…
What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done?

Now think about it for a second… I’m sure some of us have done some pretty crazy stuff. But I want you to thing about the craziest, most ridiculous, outrageous thing you have ever done…

Why did you do it?
Was it to impress someone?
Was it something to prove a point?
Was it something that if you didn’t do it, you’d live in regret for the rest of your life?

What did it accomplish?
Does it make for a great story when you’re hanging out with your friends?
Did you learn something from it?
Did it change the course of your live?

Was it worth it?

Growing up I was a good kid. I didn’t push the limits too much. I wasn’t wild and crazy. But when I was 19, I did the most craziest thing in my life.

I was never much for amusement parks and roller coasters. But at 19, I found myself at a crossroads. A defining moment in my life. If I did what I was thinking about doing, it could potentially change my life.

I was with a group of teens and adults preparing to go to Puerto Rico for a 3 week mission trip. We had gathered in New Jersey for a couple of days of orientation and training. Just before we flew out, the team went to Atlantic City, for what they called, a cross-cultural experience. It was a buffet at one of the hotels. Not sure how that was cross-cultural, maybe it was because we were in a sinful place, you know the gambling and all, i don’t know, but… any way.

We were given some time to walk the boardwalk and have some fun. So a group of us headed down to one of the piers that had some games and rides.

Now here’s the important part of this story. Just 5 month earlier, while working as a counselor at our denominations winter camp, I met a girl who instantly swept me off my feet. And as God’s blessing would have it, she was part of this mission trip to Puerto Rico. In the months leading up to the trip, we had corresponded back and forth, getting to know each other. I knew I was going to marry this woman. The problem was, I didn’t think she was that into me.

Now back to the pier.

There was a new ride just beginning to pop up at amusement parks. This one was called, the Sky Coaster. Perhaps you’ve seen one of these things, maybe have even been on one, but this was the first I had ever seen one. In fact it was the first time a number from had group had seen one.

Now if you don’t know what this “ride” is, let me try to draw a picture for you. Basically it’s a giant swing. Two huge metal truss’ project skyward forming what looks like a playground swing, only in epic proportions. The victim, I mean rider, is harnessed into burrito like sling that you lay down in. Once you’re all hooked up, you are lifted some 90 feet into the air at a 30 some degree angle.

On the count of 3, you pull the rip cord and away you go!

Can you see where this is going?

Well this girl who I was interested in and a friend of hers wanted to ride this ride. But it was an expensive ride for one person, not quite as expensive for two people, and really affordable for three.

Now here is the point where, I might argue for the statement, boys are stupid. Because before I knew, I volunteered myself as the third person. I hate rides like this. I hate putting myself in places where I am not in control. I do not take unnecessary risks. But shortly after saying, “duh, well I’ll go on the SkyCoaster with you, ahuk ahuk…” I was strapped into the burrito, handed the rip cord and told, “one the count of 3, pull this!”

Let’s just say, I wasn’t thinking with my head. But here was an opportunity to wow this girl. I wanted to prove myself to her, show her that I was something special, someone daring, brave, strong, someone she could fall in love with. Meanwhile, I thought I was going to die.

So they hoist us up into the sky. I mean, we are up there. What had I gotten myself into? Then I heard it the countdown… 3… 2… Not sure that I actually heard the one, but…

Well, here check this out on the screens.

(Play video. Unfortunately the video is on an old VHS tape and I have not digitalized it yet. Sorry.)

It was by far, the craziest thing I had ever done. I can’t believe I cut my hair… No seriously. That was a once in a life time experience, and never will I ever do it again.

– jay

* This was an excerpt from Jay’s farewell message at St. Paul’s Presbyterian Church, in Somerset PA, preached on Sunday, June 24, 2012. The rest of message can be found at my website. Click on the link and you will be taken there.

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