I hate flying. My mother has worked for Delta Airlines almost as long as I’ve been alive; hence, I’ve been flying almost as long as I’ve been alive. Yet, every time I do it, it never feels right to me. I cannot from my limited understanding of physics as it relates to air travel conceptualize why we are able to fly in airplanes. I’m sure there’s a book, a blog, an article somewhere that could break it down into Layman’s terms for me, but I remain in my willing ignorance about it. Last Friday I flew home for my monthly visit (there’s a joke in there somewhere) using my flight privileges which means standby. Standby is trash and never let anyone tell you different. I somehow made a 5:30 PM flight home when I had been number 72 on the standby list on the previous flights. “There’s no way I’m getting out of here today,” I thought to myself. I started mentally sending texts to friends to let them know I wouldn’t be able to make it this weekend, and I looked up and saw that I had been assigned a seat. I now know that I inexplicably made that flight because God wanted me to meet the woman I sat next to.
I inched my way toward my seat in the very back of the plane still tired from the work day and the commute to LaGuardia. Finally I made it to my row of three and there was Mindy and her son. We exchanged the usual pleasantries of “hello, can I squeeze by? Sure, let me just.” My desperate attempt to sleep failed miserably and of course we hit “some rough air” and there was turbulence. Anxiety level now at 10. Mindy and I shot each other a look “I hate flying,” she said to me with a nervous smile. I forced a quick head nod and awkward smile back. And there was the beginning of our hour and a half friendship. Mindy told me all about how she’s a stay at home soccer mom and that she and her family lived in London for four years. “It was such a tough decision to move back to the states because we really loved it over there,” she said with her eyes welling up with tears. “We prayed on it profusely and asked God to lead us. I felt in my spirit we should head back to the states and a month later I found out I had breast cancer,” she confessed with tears rolling down her face. I listened intently to her story, wondering if there is a voice in my head that I’m ignoring. We talked the remainder of the flight and she introduced me to the rest of her family who were seated elsewhere once we landed. “Isn’t she beautiful?” she asked her young son. “She’s too old for me mom,” he quipped back in that super honest adorable way that children do. She asked if she could hug me and we did and went our separate ways.
Mindy’s words about trusting that voice really stuck with me, because I wonder so often if I’m doing the right thing by staying in New York. I expected to struggle and to be challenged, but for how long? How do we know when it’s time to fight harder, or to pull out? I’m scooting in closer to myself so that I can hear that voice that will tell me. I believe that at this moment I am exactly where I should be, but I wonder how long I’m supposed to go without and struggle in the name of a dream that sometimes feels like a nightmare because of the burden of money. Odd isn’t it that I can trust a pilot whom I don’t know at all to fly me to and from home, but I struggle to trust God who I know intimately to lead me to my purpose? Fear of flying.