“Please remain seated and fasten your seatbelt. Due to turbulence, I will not be conducting the in flight service during this flight.”
I peeped down the aisle at the flight attendant as she made the one announcement that I always dreaded hearing. She, the flight attendant, sat fastened in her rear facing seat with a pleasant smile on her face. People who don’t fear death always gave bad news with a smile. I grimaced at her, and sat back in my seat.
A flash of lighting struck in my peripheral. It was so close it made the plane tremble. Around me, I heard my fellow passengers gasp. “That was too close to the airplane.” I whispered to myself as I felt the plane begin to violently shake. I dug my nails into the seat cushion, squeezed my eyes shut and began to pray. I felt the plane accelerate as the pilot rushed to get out of the storm cloud we were currently in. This didn’t feel right.
I opened my eyes and looked at the person sitting next to me on the commercial air flight, and I wondered if they thought the same thing I was thinking. Their face didn’t give anything away, but I saw their eyes were closed and their lips were moving silently. Other than the sound of the racing engine on the airplane, the plane was eerily silent, no one said a word.
The reality that I had no control over life, once again, hit me like a wave in the ocean. What if this was it? What if this time the turbulence caused the plane to crash and burn? I know I was being overly dramatic, but at the same time I allowed these questions to conquer my thoughts.
As I felt the plane slow down, I stole a glance out the window and noticed that we were rising above the clouds. I double checked my seat belt, closed my eyes and tried to relax. I commenced to take a series of deep breaths in order to calm myself. Counting to five as I inhaled slowly, and counting slowly backwards from ten as I exhaled.
When the plane stopped shaking and returned to its normal speed, I relaxed my grip on the seat cushion, and said a prayer of thanks.
– – –
Being on that plane that day was without a doubt one of the scariest experiences I have ever had. Anytime the reality of how little control I have over my life stares me in the face, it’s always a scary experience to me. I was able to find peace on that airplane though. Thats not to say that I wasn’t frightened, because I was, but it was a different type of fear. There was peace in the middle of my fear. While on the plane, even when I thought we weren’t going to make it, somewhere in the pit of my spirit, I already knew we would be ok. Even if things didn’t end the way I wanted them to, things would still be ok.
Isn’t that how life is? Even when we don’t know the outcome, we still have to find peace in the middle of the fear.
We can’t always control what happens or what is happening, we can’t always control the “it”. We can only accept it for what it is, we can accept that it is happening and then we can find peace right there in the midst of it. When we are able to find peace in the midst of it, we are able to appreciate the experiences that we live through. With peace there are no regrets only growth.
There wasn’t anything I could do about whether or not the plane landed safely, just like I have no control over what tomorrow brings. The most I can do is dig in, hold fast and pray. Besides, I know God has already worked it out, and that he grants me peace in the middle of the storm.
For that, I am truly thankful. I am truly blessed.