A week and-a-half ago I headed to the airport, ready to soar. Then last week about this time I ascended again, on my way home.
Above cottony wisps and whipped cream puffs, into the wild blue way up there… over the Rockies and the great southwestern desert, across that southern state where everything’s big and it takes forever to drive across, and flat brown gives way to hills of green… and landed on the other side of the country.
In between feeling nervous, anxious, a little scared, overwhelmed—the trip was sort of an introduction to my new job—I felt blessed. Immeasurably. A prayer had been answered. And one of my first “tasks” was to accompany the rest of the organization’s staff to their national conference.
So, there I was. Flying. And feeling like a little girl.
Because when the engines accelerate and the air speed increases in preparing for take-off, I brace myself against the thrust…
because I’m five years old again.
And I’m embarrassed to say it, but a giddy smile plasters my face in those moments of piercing the air and defying gravity—my eyes fixed on buildings and trees zipping by. And as the plane rushes through time suspended, I’m mesmerized by the thrill…
Of taking off and lifting away from terra firma, my big, crazy, spinning world turns to miniature.
And I’m flying! Not just once or twice in a lifetime, but again!
I’m sure I’m dreaming.
And I am not afraid.
Standing in line weighed down with bags of my most necessary worldly stuff, my insides tingle from the knowing: I’ll soon board one of those monstrous birds of steel beyond the windows…
Stepping across the threshold into a giant tube with wings requires trust, placed on the promise to carry us forward and upward. On forces unseen.
After the frenzy of arriving on time, enduring TSA, and then waiting… I sit quietly in that cramped seat, ready to sail over granite peaks and patchwork landscapes into endless blue. Where nothing gets in the way.
I’ve flown at times when we left the gray fog below and behind, to ascend above the storms to a land where the sun always shines and day never ends.
And my entire being swells with the wonder… of soaring… of pushing nearer to Heaven, maybe? Of doing what humanity only dreamed of for centuries before.
Memories return of a red, round suitcase—my mom’s carry-on—filled with brand new crayons and coloring books and travel-size games to keep my brother and me occupied during the long hours across the Atlantic, before arriving on German soil.
I remember looking down at midnight’s blackness in between sleeping and waking in the dim cabin.
All these years later I’m more nervous than I was as a girl (did I remember everything?), excited and anxious. In vain I remind myself to stay calm, attempting to hide my secret delight. I refrain from shouting to those around me—the bored or agitated souls, intent on getting this over with, to just get to where they’re going—Isn’t this exciting?! We’re really flying!!
Compressed between other cramped and uncomfortable bodies, I try to read. Or pretend to read. My mind refuses to stay on the page, though, and words in ink become meaningless where, across cold glass a fairyland begs pondering.
In my one recurring dream I can fly. With arms outstretched and my face against the wind, I sail on shapeless currents, beyond the reach of human frailty, above an earth buckling from the weight of the curse.
And I’m appalled when someone says he hates flying.
It’s like hating ice cream or hating kisses! How can you not like something so delicious, so beautiful, so full of the miraculous?
How can anyone not appreciate the ability to soar?
There’s a remarkable faith-like effort in learning to fly. No wonder I’m a child again.
In taking hold of unexpected opportunity, to be a part of, to learn and explore and expand my own horizons surrounded by strangers, one or two who could soon to be friends connected by this shared adventure.
It all feels like a role I’m about to play—while life around me goes on as normal. And this unexpected trip becomes part of the ordinary stuff of my daily routine…
But my heart knows the truth about praying and waiting, and accepting the difficult in between the dreams… in trusting that behind the bustle and boredom of school and work, of home and church and community, God has a plan. And He wants us to trust. To not give up. Because on a day when we least expect, if we’ve practiced taking small steps of faith on the ground, He just might be preparing to send us above the clouds.
And yet for another reason, deep down I’m wide with wonder at these unchartered surroundings. With ticket in hand waiting to step into new territory, and standing at counters for checking in, smiling politeness and greeting and clasping hands, what I really want to do is sing and dance and point to the One whose fingerprints are evident in every place, on every piece of paper, every pane of glass…
Over the years I’ve learned I don’t have to tremble when taking simple steps of faith. Even though at times I still do.
Soo… while God holds me steady, in these past few weeks, I’m just a little girl again who loves to soar.
But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles… – Isaiah 40:31