Jumping Off Beachy Head

I believe I can fly!

I know it sounds crazy, but whenever I stand near the edge of a cliff, or a high building, (or even a pulpit!), I have an irresistible urge to jump! I’m not exactly sure why this is. I don’t like heights. Even if I am watching someone else standing at the edge of a long drop, my knees go shaky!

As a young child, still living in London, we travelled down to Eastbourne on occasions to visit my Uncle Frank. He looked like Winston Churchill, always had a cigar in his mouth and drove a Morris Cowley. That’s where the comparison falls down!

The old Morris Cowley was an amazing car to me. Bench seat at the front. Column gear change. Huge central speedo dial on an impressive looking dashboard. The highlight of my day would be jumping in the Morris Cowley with my mum and Uncle Frank, and being driven up to Beachy Head.

I’ll get to Beachy Head in a moment

In the ’80s and ’90s, I travelled to India many times as a musician. If you have been there you will know where I’m going with this! There were really only two cars you would ever see in India – the Fiat and the Morris Cowley referred to as the Ambassador! I have travelled thousands of miles around India, often in a Morris Ambassador. My Uncle Frank would have been proud.

Anyway, back to Beachy Head.

We would drive from Polegate where my Uncle lived, up through the country lanes and eventually drive up to Beachy Head, a 700-foot sheer drop down to the English Channel. I can remember crawling on my belly to the edge of the cliff and peering over. Yes, I have done some incredibly stupid things in my life. I had to do it.

I had to do it!

That’s scary! And perhaps explains why my legs get wobbly when I’m standing on high buildings.

Beachy Head has a sad history in terms of the loss of human life. Hundreds of people have committed suicide here and today there are teams of dedicated people who patrol the cliffs to ‘talk people down’ who they suspect are considering taking their own lives.

There is something in me that wants to fly. I have a sense of adventure that has often taken me over the edge into realms unknown – sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse. Nevertheless, this attitude to life tends to spill over into my Christian faith also.

One of my favourites Bible books is Isaiah and some of my favourite chunks can be found at the end of chapter 40:

“He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall, but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles, they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

Walking: strength for the normal.

Running: strength for the exceptional.

Flying: strength for the supernatural.

I believe I can fly!

About flashman

Steve Flashman is a Vicar looking after two parish churches in Buckinghamshire. Formerly a professional musician, he has toured the world as a contemporary rock singer, composing and recording more than 100 songs. He is a published author and a prolific writer. He also rides a Triumph America 865!

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