I have never liked flying. Truth be told, I love flying, as long as the ride is not bumpy, wobbly, rough, loud, or scary. When the experience is as smooth as sitting still in my La-Z-Boy chair, I breathe easy and have a peaceful, entertaining time. I enjoy watching the clouds, towns, and natural formations below me, just the way I would a good TV show or Netflix selection. As long as there is zero turbulence, it is well with my soul.
But my calm is shattered when plane noises or movements indicate we are a few miles above the earth.
I’ve tried pretending I am on a Greyhound bus, and that each little “period of rough air” is just a series of potholes along the interstate. Bumpity, bump. No big deal. Then comes a moment of free fall or flashing seatbelt lights! I get anxious, knowing I cannot walk away on my own two feet if we run out of gas. I struggle to stay centered.
This past Christmas Eve, as my US Air flight bounced its way into Austin, this fearful, ungrounded traveler decided to try a different kind of visualization, having just read Hosea 14:7-8: “I am like a green cypress tree; Your fruit is found in me.” I pictured myself rooted in God, connected to His creation and to Him. “Revived like grain” and “(growing) like a vine” (v. 7), I imagined Spirit-filled roots running through me, through the air, to the earth. I was comforted.
Maybe, for me, flying is a reminder that my own physicality is not the center of my being. Daily life, like plane trips, can be turbulent, but it is not my two feet, nor my La-Z-Boy chair’s four legs, keeping me safe. God is my strength. He is, at all times and at all elevations, my solid ground.