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September 19, 2014 / 24 Elul, 5774
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It’s My Opinion: Take The Jump


Perhaps it’s just human nature, but people usually tend to kvetch. We complain. We whine and moan. We grumble. We make excuses.

We hesitate to join in activities. It’s too hot. It’s too cold. It might rain. We could sweat. We could shiver. Our hair (or sheitel) could get wet.

Sometimes we don’t have the right equipment. Sometimes we don’t have the right clothes. Sometimes we’re just too lazy.

We hem and we haw. We hesitate to go out of our comfort zone. We let life pass us by.

A recent occurrence has put it all into perspective for me.

Sergeant Travis Mills had a remarkable experience on a visit to South Florida. Mills participated in a skydiving jump with the Golden Knights at the Air Reserve Base, in Homestead. The exhilarating event began 6,000 feet above land. Mills called the jump “awesome.”

Mills was in town for a screening of his film “Travis: A Soldier’s Story.” It’s a documentary of his experience in war-torn Afghanistan. The March 3 debut was held at the Bill Cosford Cinema at the University of Miami.

Sergeant Mills was hit by an explosive device in Afghanistan in 2012. He is now a quadruple amputee. He lost parts of all four of his limbs. Despite his devastating injuries, he’s declared, “I am not a sob story!”

He has continued to live his life with aplomb. The tenacity and determination he has shown is a role model of courage to us all.

Mills is married and has a child. He has an incredible outlook. He enjoys life. His take is, “It’s only going to get better.”

All of us are presented with abilities and shortcomings. Some are more daunting than others. Our negative attitudes are often the biggest handicap of all.

Jewish tradition advises us that it is a mitzvah to be happy. Ivdu et Hashem b’simcha – we are to serve Hashem with joy. Tradition tells us that in the afterlife we will be held accountable for the opportunities we did not seize.

Life is short. Go ahead. Take the jump!

About the Author: Shelley Benveniste is South Florida editor of The Jewish Press.

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