Taking Flight

“We ought to fly away from earth to heaven as quickly as we can;
and to fly away is to become like God, as far as this is possible;
and to become like him is to become holy, just, and wise.”


(descent to Zurich, Switzerland / Julie Cook / 2012)

****This is a post I wrote shortly after I started blogging back in 2013.
It came to mind today as I was listening to a song by the Christian band,
Third Day, all while I was ironing.
The song, Offering.

Whenever I hear that song I’m immediately transported elsewhere.
Suddenly I’m sitting on a plane.
I’m staring out the window—hours of sitting and staring out the window.
And it’s always when I’m flying overseas.
My head leans on the little oval window, as I look outward,
yet both upward and downward.

I’m listening to that song play repeatedly, over and over
all the while as I stare out into the air.

Yet the song reminds me however of something much more important
than that of flying…it reminds me of my place
between God’s hands.

And that today is a most timely reminder.
That despite time, space and distance, I’m
still held between His hands…

As summer is now upon us, my thoughts most always turn to travel—
regardless of whether I’m set for an adventure or not.

Have I ever told you that I am afraid of flying?
Afraid of heights?
Afraid of driving over tall bridges spanning large bodies of water….?
And then there’s that whole flying over water thing…….
but travel, yes, I love to…..

As a former art teacher with a penchant for medieval art,
illuminated manuscripts and that whole Renaissance cultural movement…
Europe was and is always whispering my name…so yes,
I have had to fly across the ol’ pond on several occasions.

I tend to be a bit of a fatalist however—
my plane will be the one with the bomb, the technical troubles,
the drunken pilot, the high-jackers sitting next to me,
the blown engine…the list of gloom and doom goes on and on.
I’ve been known to hold on to my rosary so tight that the beads almost pop off.
I recite the Jesus prayer over and over,
hoping it will help regulate my breathing,
calm my nerves and hopefully get God’s attention that He needs to send
all wayward angels over to the plane in the sky making the
loudest prayer noise.

Be it flying across the country or across an ocean…
flying makes for a long journey sitting in a can with wings that, in my opinion,
defies the laws the nature.
But, and it’s a big but, the results, the arrival at the point of destination,
is and has always been worth my tremendous anxiety.

I decided a long time ago that life was too short to sit by frozen with fear.
My dad is that way—frozen with fear.
He doesn’t even like for me to make the hour journey to visit him
because he’s convinced I’m the next disaster waiting to happen on Atlanta’s 285—
which, by the way, I must admit is truly taking one’s life in one’s own hands,
but there I go digressing.

So it was a couple of years back—-a trip to Italy.
I’d not flown that distance in many years, so my anxiety level was pretty high.
My teenage son was traveling with me, but we’d left my husband, his dad, behind.
There went the fatalist thoughts…”we’ll never see him again…”
I silently suffered as we boarded.
“A window seat, I have to have a window seat— I’ll get car sick…
wait, car sick on a plane?? Hummm”…
taking my seat,
I proceed to stare out the window for the next 8.5 hours.

I plugged in my earphones into my little I-Pod and proceeded listening
to Third Day’s Offerings, All I Have to Give—
playing it over and over and over….

Their music does speak to my soul as it were….their songs,
like sung prayers, bring comfort to my heart,
humility to my heart and tears to my eyes.
So there I sat, listening to prayer in song,
watching the sun set and eventually rising again over the horizon.

Time is an most interesting entity when traveling…
all those time zones, time changes, crossing datelines…
quite mind boggling and body draining.
But yet being able to watch the sun set from a vantage point that allows
it to drop below one’s eyes—not like watching it set when sitting on the beach—
is truly different–
you’re actually above it watching it drop.
The sky above is black and accented with a million sparkling stars
as the occasional passing plane interrupts this solitude.
A few hours pass and suddenly the sun begins it’s accent up ward again.
Night and day become a bit relative when flying form one country to another…
time jumbles up a bit.

I developed a great peace throughout this process.
I suddenly felt as if I was hovering between the earth, my world,
and the infinite sky, Heaven, God’s world.
Sandwiched between His hands—and in that single thought, I found tremendous peace.

I was afforded an opportunity that not everyone is fortunate to enjoy.
Granted lots of people fly, every day, all over the world.
I fly, on average, maybe once a year, possibly twice.
Sometimes far, sometimes not so far… but it is always exhilarating
and always frightening and always adventuresome.

And there’s always that sense that I’m just a little closer to God,
which I find wonderfully peaceful.

So here’s to reaching towards Heaven…
be it on the ground or in the sky, it is my sincere desire to always
reach a little higher, get a little closer,
reaching my arms to His glorious embrace….
May we all be happy to take such flight…………..