Invisible but invaluable what a great heartfelt moment, to read those words when an unexpected note of gratitude comes your way, it makes you stop for a moment as you try and recall the moment that you were just being you, yet someone noticed.
The emotional tank is filled as you read:
“Wanted to say thanks for packing my mental and emotional parachute many, many times last year!
You are a great person and a super friend
With Love Lorri”
It was Monday June 1st 2001 at 2:36pm, when that note came in with this story attached.
Who Packs Your Parachute?
Charles Plumb, a U.S. Naval Academy graduate was a jet pilot in Vietnam. After 75 combat missions, his plane was destroyed by a surface-to-air missile. Plumb ejected and parachuted into enemy hands. He was captured and spent 6 years in a communist Vietnamese prison. He survived the ordeal and now lectures on lessons learned from that experience.
One day, when Plumb and his wife were sitting in a restaurant, a man at another table came up and said, “You’re Plumb! You flew jet fighters in Vietnam from the aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk, and you were shot down!”
“How in the world did you know that?” asked Plumb.
“I packed your parachute,” the man replied. Plumb gasped in surprise and gratitude. The man pumped his hand and said, “I guess it worked!” Plumb assured him, “it sure did. If your chute hadn’t worked, I wouldn’t be here today.”
Plumb couldn’t sleep that night, thinking about that man. Plumb says, “I kept wondering what he might have looked like in a Navy uniform: a white hat, a bib in the back, and bell-bottom trousers. I wonder how many times I might have seen him and not even said “Good morning, how are you?” Or anything because, you see, I was a fighter pilot and he was just a sailor.
Plumb thought of the many hours the sailor had spent on a long wooden table in the bowels of the ship, carefully weaving the shrouds and folding the silks of each chute, holding in his hands each time the fate of someone he didn’t know.
Now, Plumb asks his audience, “Who’s packing your parachute?”
For everyone has someone who provides what they need to make through the day. Plumb had also pointed out that he needed many kinds of parachutes when his plane was shot down over enemy territory – he needed his physical parachute, his mental parachute, his emotional parachute, and his spiritual parachute. Plumb said, he called on all these supports before reaching safety.
Sometimes in the daily challenges that life gives us, we miss what is really important. We may fail to say hello, please or thank you, to congratulate someone on something wonderful that has happened to them or touched our hearts, give a compliment, or just do something nice for no reason.
The month of February is a great time for some heart-to-heart just because you care. As you go through this day, this week, this month and the year recognize people who pack your parachute. We need the help of others to fulfill our purpose, and guess what? They need our help today, too! We are all invisible in somebodies life – being behind the scenes, helping them to grow, encouraging and sometimes cattle prodding them and calling out their seeds of greatness.
Who can you thank today? Who’s packing your parachute?
Happy Valentine’s month from my heart to yours…thank you for packing my chute…