Friday, June 24, 2016

Come Fly With Me...At Your Own Risk

As many of you know, my family travels a lot. We love to go to new places and see new things, but we usually drive. We have an RV and all the kids are good travelers.  (and one of the dogs, don’t ask about the other).

(Note the smile. Clearly this was BEFORE we took off.)

The problem with driving is that it takes time. Normally the getting there is part of the vacation so it’s okay, but this trip was different. This trip was Dave and my 25th Anniversary trip and I wanted to go to Washington State, specifically the Olympic Peninsula. I have wanted to go there since I was a little girl. Growing up in Ks and Tx, the thought of huge trees and ferns the size of small cars and all that lush greenery was just something I had to see.  So, we booked the flights, booked the hotels, and rented the car.

Here’s the thing. Turns out, I’m not the best flyer. I’d only done 3 short round trip flights before our WA trip and the latest one was pre 9-11. Things have changed a wee little bit since then.

My first problem was that I didn’t prepare properly.  We were sitting in seats that had a bit more leg room which was nice, but I didn’t realize that meant that there was no room for anything under our seats so my carry-on bag had to go in an overhead bin making it essentially unavailable for the 4 hour flight. My book, extra phone battery, and headphones were in there. So I had nothing at all to do for 4 hours but worry and feel every little shutter and bump of that plane.

I have never enjoyed the take-off and landing parts. I pretty much gripped the plane seat arm rests like my life depended on it and tried to remember to breathe. Once we were level, the turbulence started. Dave says these were nothing.  No big deal at all. I beg to differ. I’m pretty sure we almost fell out of the sky several times. Each time I would gasp and grab Dave’s arm and dig in my nails. You can imagine how enjoyable this was for my neighbors and especially Dave. 

I tried so hard to talk myself out of it. I was looking around at all the other passengers and no one else was freaking out. Heck, there was a kid behind me having a jolly old time! “Lots of these people look like frequent fliers and they don’t seem worried so I should just calm down.” I told myself. This line of reasoning did not work so I moved on to a new line of thinking.

I know where I am going when I die, and my kids are all almost adults and would do okay without parents, plus they have awesome aunties and uncles who would take care of them so it’d be okay. Now this may seem morbid, but sometimes when my brain decides to do a little freak-out it helps me to play the ‘what is the worst thing that could happen’ game. That way, I’ve considered what is the worst possible outcome and dealt with it. But then I realized that just dying in a plane crash and leaving the kids behind was not really the worst thing that could happen. We could crash over the ocean and I could slowly die of dehydration and exposure, all alone, and finally get eaten by sharks. Forget the fact that our journey did not take us over the ocean. Sometimes the ‘what is the worst thing that could happen’ game backfires.  

Once we landed, I was okay. All was fine. My brain went back to its normal, rational state and we had a wonderful vacation (more posts about the actual vacation coming later).

I did make a few mental notes for the plane ride home to make it a little more tolerable. Apparently, so did Dave.

We got to the airport a little early for the flight home and Dave took me into the Chili’s near our gate and ordered me a glass of wine. I think he might have been okay with getting me pass out drunk so he could just carry me on the plane and strap me in my seat, but he settled for the 1 glass I was willing to drink.

Also, this time I had my book, headphones, and extra iPhone battery in my hands instead of my bag and I’d also put my credit card information in my phone so I could buy wifi. This was a good tactic. I still gripped my seat like it was my job on the way up and down, and I did still occasionally gasp and grab Dave’s arm, but the ability to surf the internet, watch a movie, and perhaps the wine, helped me relax so I did not spend the entire flight acting like a cat in a room full of rocking chairs.

One of the things I do when I’m a bit fearful is to sing hymns or worship songs in my head. On the first flight I tried this while we were taking off and I could not remember a single song. NOT ONE SONG. I must have a million hymns and worship songs memorized that I could sing at the drop of a hat, but apparently they all fled my brain once we began to fly down the runway.

On the trip home I was prepared for this eventuality. I had my phone all keyed up and ready with my Spotify Worship Music station up. As soon as we started to take off I hit play.


The song Oceans is what played. Let’s ponder those lyrics, while considering I was in the process of being hurtled trough the sky in a metal can at ridiculous speeds and altitudes.

You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand

And I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You've never failed and You won't start now

So I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine.

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior

So, as I’m being catapulted through the sky, I am listening to this song and arguing with it! I’m all, “NO! Lord, don’t call me out on the waters! Just get me out of this plane!”

“Also, I don’t want my feet, or more importantly THIS PLANE to fail!”

“Um, and could I go ahead and find you here in this plane and not on the rising ocean waves? I don’t want to go in the ocean!”

“And, can your grace abound in cramped airplanes instead of deepest waters, cuz remember, I don’t want to go in the water!”

“And can we just forget that whole refrain? Because I don’t want any of that! I don’t want trust without borders because that sounds scary! And I really don’t want to walk on the waters and listen, I don’t want to go deeper, I just want to get off this plane! And as much as I love you, Lord, I kinda want to go home and not into your presence at the moment.”

You guys, I am a joy to fly with. 

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