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Thank the people who packed your chute

So many people have helped me become the person I am. How about you? Who has contributed to your life? Have you really thanked them?   This story from Charles Plumb, a U.S. Navy jet pilot in Vietnam, may encourage you to to go back and make sure they understand the gratitude you feel. …
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes
So many people have helped me become the person I am. How about you? Who has contributed to your life? Have you really thanked them?
 
This story from Charles Plumb, a U.S. Navy jet pilot in Vietnam, may encourage you to to go back and make sure they understand the gratitude you feel.
 

After 75 combat missions, Plumb’s 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. 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.

When sharing this story with an audience, Plumb concludes by asking them, “Who’s packing your parachute?” Everyone has someone who provides what they need to make it through the day.
 

It’s a great story and principle. Most of us can thank our moms for helping pack our chute – I know my mom did so much to launch me in life. And if you’re fortunate enough to have a supportive spouse, that can make a huge difference as well.  Karen has been a center tent-pole in my life. And there were key partners and mentors, some of whom I’ve written about before. So many of my successes would have never happened if others hadn’t packed my chute.
 
How about you? Who packed your chute?

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.



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