Homeward Bound  

Posted by Brock Booher

Most children think that their parents want to run their lives forever. Nothing could be further from the truth. Most parents want children that are capable of taking care of themselves, but the pathway to that independence can take a while, and is fraught with setbacks and dangers.

The air was cool at five thousand feet when they opened the side door of the Cessna Caravan and the wind gusted through the cramped cabin. I straddled a bench with my tandem instructor crammed in behind me, and two more tandem pairs ahead of me. Through the puffy white clouds, I could see the surf breaking below and the rows of white foamy water rushing to shore. We were circling above a hole in the clouds hoping that it would move over our drop zone so we could tumble out of the open door and into the mirth. The scenery was spectacular, but my heart was pounding. The turboprop hummed along and in spite of the swirling winds, the smell of the engine exhaust lingered in the cabin. My stomach did flips while we waited for the right conditions.

Early that day my son, Rian, had graduated from BYU Hawaii – my first college graduate. The speakers were succinct and spoke of character over academic performance, and integrity over income. Before they began to read the names of the graduate (not an easy task at the most diverse university on the planet), a choir sang a beautiful rendition of the song “Homeward Bound” by Marta Keen. It gave me chills as the metaphors from the song conjured up deep emotional images for me.

In the quiet misty morning

When the moon has gone to bed

When the sparrows stop their singing

And the sky is clear and red

When the summer’s ceased it’s gleaming

When the corn is past its prime

When adventure’s lost its meaning

I’ll be homeward bound in time

Bind me not, to the pasture

Chain me not to the plow

Set me free to find my calling

And I’ll return to you somehow

That was my chorus as I approached adulthood. I dreamt of far off places removed from the pastures and plows of home. My parents not only refused to bind or chain me to a future of their choosing, they encouraged me to go forth and find my calling, even if it took me away; Even if it put me in danger. Never once did I feel bound to a life I didn’t want to live. My parents gave me wings.

Through the hole in the clouds we could see the drop zone. The pilot gave the go ahead and my stomach did one more flip as I looked down at the volcanic mountains covered in green trees and the deep blue water of the Pacific. I wondered if I was ready for this experience. (During all my flight training, jumping out of an airplane was always considered an emergency.) I wondered if I was ready to die. My son sat just a few feet in front of me in the second half of the group. Was I ready to let him go?

He was my firstborn, my oldest son, the experimental child. I thought about all the mistakes I made as a young parent. I remembered all the foolish things I had said to him, or all the times I yelled at him, or was too tired to play with him. Had I prepared him well enough to succeed at life? Did I give him the courage to find his own calling? Could I give him the wings he needed to fly and push him from the nest?

If you find it’s me your missing
If you’re hoping I’ll return

To your thoughts I’ll soon be listening

When I’m homeward bound again

Then the wind will set me racing

As my journey nears its end

Then the path I’ll be retracing

When I’m homeward bound again

Bind me not, to the pasture

Chain me not to the plow

Set me free to find my calling

And I’ll return to you somehow

The pilot gave the signal, and we shuffled to the door and fell into the blue, homeward bound. Skydiving is to flying what motorcycle riding is to driving a car. I felt like I was one with the scenery as I fell to earth and felt the rush of the wind. We tumbled and hurtled downward reaching terminal velocity, and personal discovery. When the chute opened and the rushing wind became a whispering breeze, I let out an exhilarating yell. I was going to live. Perhaps more importantly, I was living.

As I touched down and disconnected, I looked upward for my son.

I don’t know what road he will choose, how far he will go, or what dangers he might face. I only hope he knows that he is not bound to the pasture or chained to the plow. He is free to find his calling. I only pray that when he has, the wind will set him racing homeward bound again.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, April 15, 2014 at Tuesday, April 15, 2014 . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .


Nicely done and welcome back.

April 16, 2014 at 11:57 AM

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