I briefly detailed my fear of flying in my last post, but now that it’s all over and I can’t jinx the trip any further, I can really admit to how bad it is.
Really, really, really, REALLY bad!
Shari and I flew from Tampa to Memphis, Memphis to Shreveport today. That’s after the two flights that it took to get there Thursday, which followed my four flights to/from Tampico, Mexico about a month ago. In other words, the guy who has a flying phobia sweated through 8 takeoffs and 8 landings in a month’s time.
I promise you this is the truth…I pray before every takeoff and every landing. When we’ve lined up on the runway and the jets begin warming up, I say something like, “God, if there is anything in my heart I’m unaware of, please take it right now and cleanse me.” Then I look around the cabin and think to myself, you know…these are the people I’m going to die with. Then I snap back into pray mode and say, “No, Lord! I have faith! Honestly!”
This is all going on in my head, of course, but sometimes I have a bad habit of mouthing the words of my silent prayers. This results in more than a few odd looks from fellow passengers.
Shari saw me getting nervous and beginning to sweat on our last flight home, then did something that I believe I shall never forget: she called me, AND I QUOTE…a “girl.”
Oh, yes, my friend. She certainly did.
I’m not a girl (hopefully this point is not debatable), and I don’t consider myself an easily-frightened kind of guy. I just have a very acute sense of what activities human beings do and (perhaps more importantly) do not have any business doing. We hit quite a few air pockets today. Air pockets are indication #3,475 that human beings do not belong in large, creaky pieces of metal flying thousands of feet over the ground at hundreds of miles per hour.
I don’t remember always having this problem. I flew quite a few times when I was younger, but I don’t remember being that nervous. Today I was a bit of a wreck, even though Shari was probably the only one who noticed. Then I remembered a little remedy for my fear.
Some of you might find this kind of cheesy, but I don’t care. I pulled out my Bible…my Daily Walk NLT that Dad gave to the ministers in our church, to be precise. Today’s assigned reading: the book of Malachi.
Malachi is not a particularly uplifting book. It’s basically detailing the cursed state of the Israelites. It details how the priests goofed up, how the people goofed up, and just how much trouble they were in for not paying tithes and bringing appropriate sacrifices. At first glance, that would do nothing to calm my anxiety. However, within 30 seconds of beginning to read, I was no longer nervous.
Sure, some people are skeptical about such things, and some could find psychological reasons for my sudden shift in demeanor, but even the not-so-optimistic book of Malachi was enough to get me feeling safe again. It’s always nice when God sneaks those little feelings into our lives.
I have one last thought/question. If I ignored the flight attendant’s instruction to turn off my iPod in preparation for landing, would the plane burst into a ball of flames?
Just curious. God bless.