Thrill of letting go

By Michelle Zirkle


My harness strapped around my torso, I leaned back onto my heels, gripped the handle above my head and looked across the horizon of New River Gorge to the tiny landing spot tucked 3,100 feet away between the trees. I couldn’t believe I was going to trust this contraption to hold me securely, but I swung myself forward and stepped off the ledge … and I was off, flying above the trees.

I laid back and whipped through the air, breeze brushing my face. I felt surprisingly relaxed given that at any moment the chain could break and send me plummeting to my death. The landscape zipped by blurry, yet a majestic view was clear. I felt as if the wind was blowing the dust out of the corners of my brain—cleaning out residual negativity and replacing it with limitless positive receptors.

Flying above was sublime, regal. I spread my arms wide, almost touching the blue sky on either side. A crow to my right raced along beside me. Nothing on the ground mattered from my new viewpoint.

“Let go,” I thought, knowing I needed to purge like this more often. As I surrendered to faith in the device holding me, the struggles thick and cumbersome in the density of earthbound life seemed to disappear like fluttering ashes vanish from a fire.

I was hooked—hooked on the line and hooked on the thrill. To fly like a bird all the time would be amazing, so freeing and gloriously unbounded.

My feet were on solid ground sooner than I wanted. As the guide unclipped me from the zip-line, I high-fived my friend, ready to fly again. The endorphin surge was no doubt, part of the intense happy I was feeling, but I knew I’d just released more than a chemical reaction in my body. I’d released my need to control my movements. I’d surrendered my safety to the universe and not only survived, but felt exhilarated in doing so.

I can’t zipline every day, but I can recapture the sense of freedom any time I choose … and then there’s the swing set at the edge of the path where I walk in the woods. When my hike’s complete, I can reward my inner child with a swing session, blowing the worry from my brow.

I’ll lean back, holding tight to the link of chain suspending me. I’ll kick my feet high above my head while my thoughts remain on the ground, knowing I’m building trust in Divine providence with each sway—knowing that I’m connected to all the support I need.

Each moment I trust my instincts and lay back and enjoy the ride, my journey becomes more incredible and my faith is strengthened like a chain is formed, one link at a time.


By Michelle Zirkle


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