Charles Plum, a U.S. Naval Academy graduate, was a jet fighter pilot in Vietnam. After 75 combat missions, his plane was destroyed by a surface-to-air missile. Plumb ejected & parachuted into enemy hands.
He was captured & spent six years in a Communist prison. He survived that ordeal & now lectures about lessons learned from that experience.
One day, when Plumb & his wife were sitting in a restaurant, a man at another table came up & said, “You’re Plumb! You flew jet fighters in Vietnam from the aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk. 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 & gratitude. The man pumped his hand & said, “I guess it worked!”
Plumb assured him, “It sure did – if your parachute 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 Dixie cup hat, a bib in the back, and bell bottom trousers. I wondered how many times I might have passed him on the Kitty Hawk. I wondered how many times I might have seen him & not even said good morning, how are you or anything because, you see, I was a fighter pilot & 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 & 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?’
Everyone has someone who provides what they need to make it through the day.
Plumb also points 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, & his spiritual parachute.”
He called on all these supports before reaching safety. His experience reminds us all to prepare ourselves to weather whatever storms lie ahead.
SUGGESTION: Recognize people who pack your parachute & strengthen yourself to prevail through tough times.