Regina’s Writings: Why Would Anyone Jump Out of a Perfectly Good Airplane?

by M. Regina Cram

My husband, Peter, and I were meeting old friends for dinner. We had no sooner been seated when our friends blurted out their big news. “You’ll never guess what we did last weekend! We went skydiving!”

“Skydiving?” I echoed somewhat stupidly. “You jumped out of an airplane while it was in the air?”

“It was awesome! We can’t wait to do it again!” they gushed.

“Why would anyone jump out of a perfectly good airplane?” I inquired. Clearly, I didn’t get it.

As our friends raved about the thrills of skydiving, my mind wandered to a conversation I’d had years earlier that, at the time, made no sense. Peter and I had recently made the difficult decision to leave our Protestant church. Most of our lives had been spent in the born-again world, so we expected to land in another born-again church. To our dismay, it became increasingly clear that we were being propelled toward the Catholic Church.

To be honest, the prospect was horrifying. We had little respect for the Catholic Church and a great deal of prejudice. Our only hope was to find loopholes in Catholic teaching that would give us a way out. Peter delved into books, catechism, and encyclicals, cross-checking everything with Scripture.

We didn’t find any loopholes.

Unfortunately, one of the biggest obstacles to gaining understanding was Catholics themselves, many of whom had little knowledge of the faith. When we asked questions about beliefs, Catholics often responded with something like, “Because that’s what Sister Gloria Joseph taught me in third grade.” To an evangelical Christian, this was not helpful.

During this period, I had a conversation with a lifelong Catholic. She was teaching CCD and preparing children for the sacraments of Reconciliation and Eucharist, so I hoped she could shed light on some of my questions.

And yet, when I mentioned that we were seriously considering becoming Catholic, she scratched her head in confusion, “It sounds like you’re happy where you are now,” she stated. “Why would you want to become Catholic?” Essentially, she was asking, “Why would anyone jump out of a perfectly good airplane?”

This woman did not realize the treasure we hold as Catholics—the phenomenal privilege of the Eucharist and total forgiveness through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. She didn’t seem to grasp that the Catholic Church stands on two thousand years of teaching and tradition handed down from the Apostles. This teaching authority is what first drew us to the Catholic Church, and it was the linchpin upon which our decision rested.

So, why did we want to jump out of a perfectly good airplane? It may have looked perfectly good on the outside, but in reality, it was riddled with problems. Ultimately, we left our comfortable world to become Catholic.

“Regina? Regina?” my friends prodded. “What planet are you on?”

“Oh, sorry,” I offered. “I was thinking about jumping out of airplanes. I think I understand.”

M. Regina Cram is a published author and parishioner of SS. Isidore and Maria Parish.