Is it just me—or have the skies gotten bumpier? I grew up flying cross-country by myself every year from the age of five. I can never remember being particularly afraid; in fact it was always a highlight of my summer. I loved the soda and peanuts (where did they go?) and I always received a pair of bona-fide flight wings. Gone are those days for me. From the increased hassle of getting almost completely undressed at the security checkpoint to the flights sans peanuts, flying is—to say the least—less fun.
Oh, and did I forget to mention I am afraid of turbulence. I know I am putting my tough-guy image on the line here, but it is true. It all goes back to last summer. My friend Scott and I were flying to Nicaragua on Taca Airlines (lovingly referred to as Take-A-Chance-Airlines) when the plane encountered turbulence. It was so bad that people were screaming or praying or doing both at the same time (I am pretty sure I heard a woman exclaim “Ay Dios Mio!”). Flying has never been the same.
For me, the worst part of flying is when the plane is traveling through the clouds. The sense of blindness to any fixed point makes every bump seem like the last one. I feel out of control—a problem that Sarah rightly attributes to my being a “control-freak.” Oddly enough, I feel safer the higher the plane goes. When I can see the tops of the clouds beneath, I can gain a sense of the relative stability with which the plane is flying.
Of course, if you are going to fly, you will experience turbulence. It is simply part of the journey. The best way to avoid turbulence is to abstain from flying (insert True Love Waits joke here). When you marry a girl whose family lives halfway across the country, however, that is not an option. And for that I am thankful. I never want the fear of turbulence to keep me from taking the trip.
The same is true in life. I never want fear to keep me from trying new things, going new places, and making myself vulnerable. There is going to be turbulence in my marriage, in my friendships, and within the deep cracks of my own heart. It is part of the journey. What will make it more bearable is a fixed point on which I can set my sights and say “I know that this is scary, that I feel like I am all over the place, but when I see all of this in relation to something steady, I can have faith that I will pull through it and land safely on the other side.”
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever” Hebrews 13:8