What does it mean to freefall? Basically, it means something that falls which is subject to the effects of gravity…falling without resistance…
This concept reminds me of a game I used to play when I was a young adult with my friends. Basically, it was a game of trust: you would stand in front of a friend, with your back to them, and they would stand facing your back about 2 feet behind you. Then, you had to close your eyes and “let go” and fall straight backwards towards your friend who would then catch you before you hit the floor. As I said, it was a game of trust and more often than not, the friend would catch you before it was “too late.”
It was in the beginning a of year, many years later that I decided that it would be a great New Year’s resolution to “get to know the Savior better.” At that time in my life, I was a young mother. I was busy with 4 young children under foot; however, I always, always made time to visit with my friends on the phone. Talking to them was my life line to the outside world. At that time, it was not unusual for any of my friends to spend an hour or more talking to each other about the daily ins and outs of life while we worked in our homes. At times, I called several of my friends on any given day, leaving me with a feeling, that with them there, I could make it through any rough day…
This routine went on for a while during that year I made the goal to get to know the Savior better. One sunny day, after a particularly refreshing and uplifting talk with a friend, I hung up the phone feeling secure that all was good and right with the world. It was after I hung up that I had a revelatory experience. “If you talked to me the way you talk to your friends, you would have a great relationship with me.” This thought pierced through my mortal “know-it-all” attitude and I was convicted.
Over the next few days, weeks and months, this thought continued to trouble me and it forced me to examine how much time I spent doing things that are really important. I found myself examining my prayers and found that I was seriously wanting in this area. My thoughts drifted to the relationships I had with my friends. How do those happen? What do we talk about? What do I tell them? How do I listen?
The first thing that changes after this revelatory experience is that I decide, if I am going to spend, 15, 30 or 45 minutes talking to a friend on the phone, I must also dedicate the same amount of time to talking to Jesus and my Father in Heaven. After all, don’t we claim that Jesus is our Friend?
I begin to time my phone calls.
The next thing that happens is that I start to evaluate how my prayers compare to the “meaningful” and “deep” conversations that I have with my friends. Oh dear! I find there is no comparison and I must change my prayer life. Up to that time in my life, how did I not realize that I could talk to Him as I did to any of my friends? I begin to share with Him the daily ins and outs of my days…I am woefully poor at this, but I push forward, trying to trust in the process and make Jesus my true friend, sharing with Him my confidences and eventually, bits and pieces of my heart…
Time passes, the lesson fades, but its effect meanders through my life like a river, slow and steady. Gradually, my relationship with the Savior develops. I study the Word of the Lord more, my prayers become more meaningful and my Spiritual life takes on deeper meaning…I change my thinking about how I will spend my time.
Like a river, life takes many twists and turns. It was when I was in my 40’s that the “test” of my lifetime would manifest. Faced with a bitter divorce and custody battle, I first learned the idea of freefalling in a spiritual sense. I had a devoted friend who introduced me to the concept of freefalling. She explained what she understood about freefalling and, as she did, I remembered the game I used to play with my friends when I was younger. She encouraged me to “freefall” into the Savior’s arms during this time of great uncertainty and profound sorrow in my life.
For weeks, I tried to envision how it would be with the Savior standing behind me and me “letting go” of all my worries, my fears, my hurts, anger and bitterness. All those things I felt were “propping me up” as I moved through the most painful part of my life.
“Freefalling” into His waiting and loving arms…It was an exercise in trust. I was resistant… I was afraid to let go …
I heard Him whisper to my soul: “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, wait patiently for Him. Lean not to thine own understanding; in all thy ways acknowledge Him and he shall direct thee for good.”
I trembled in my weakness. I am undone by the weight of my troubles, yet, like warm gentle winds, His breathless whisper stirs in my soul a deep longing for peace. I continue to hear His words of encouragement: “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest…Learn of me…
His kindness stirs my soul with desire to trust, but it does not come easy. I labor. I am heavy laden…
I must learn to freefall. It is not easy.
Being so encumbered by the events in my life, my prayer life took on a steady stream of desperation…a defiant, “this shouldn’t be happening to me…” and “…I don’t deserve this…” attitude.
I must learn to freefall.
In His mercy, the Lord sends help through a wise advisor. He counseled: “Be more thankful in your prayers.” He issued a challenge to me and asked me for 1 week to be nothing but thankful in my prayers.
It is through this exercise that I begin to fall…
Slowly, I begin to see my life change right before my eyes. The situation is the same, but everything is different. This exercise made such a deep impact on me that its impression is still with me years later. I continue this exercise in my life from time to time for the effects it has on helping me to eliminate my wilful nature.
To this day, I continue to hear His voice in my heart. Warm words of encouragement continue to distil upon my quivering soul as the dews of Heaven brushing up distant memories of His love for me and urging me gently to “fall,” to “trust,” to “yield.”
Learning to “freefall” is a lesson in trust and letting go of control. I am not great at it, but I am improving. He has been there encouraging me all the way through.
Thank you, Holy Father.