Earlier this month, I turned thirty-four years old. Yesterday, I got on an airplane for the first time ever. It didn’t take me this long because I was afraid to fly. It’s just that the money, spare time, and opportunity has never presented itself or been a priority.
I have a four year old son who did not accompany me, and being a mother has made me a bit more vulnerable than I’m used to. I’ll admit it, I was scared. Sure, you’re remembering the colloquial statistic that we are safer in airplanes than we are in cars, probably because there are a lot more people driving cars than flying in planes. If we all flew as much as we drove, I’m sure plane crashes would be a bit more common, but I digress. I was afraid.
I was afraid my plane would be the one-off and that I’d never see my son again. I was afraid that I was marching towards a death-sentence. I thought about all the things that could go wrong; massive earthquake grounding all flights and possibly ending life as we know it, all while I’m stranded across the country and unable to protect my son; terrorist attack; obviously a plane crash into icy, tumultuous water, slowly freezing to death as I desperately cling to an ice floe in a violently churning body of water miles away from any civilization or possible rescue; my house burning down while I’m away, just my lucky day, my space heater started smoking about a half hour before my car was to arrive and whisk me off to the airport, and I had to unplug it and watch it until I left to make sure no embers remained smouldering away in secrecy within, ready to burst into flames after my departure and consume our happy home.
I’ve never left my son for this amount of time before. I’ve never been this far away from him before. I also felt guilty for leaving him so soon after Christmas and making him leave many of his new toys behind to spend a week with his auntie and cousins. It’s a very hard thing for most mothers to do. It was a hard thing for me to do.
My legs felt wobbly and my tummy ached as I made my way through the airport. Anyone who passed a glance over me could easily tell I was brand new. I sucked it up and asked myself this question: Who are you? Are you a lion, or a frightened little gazelle?
I still felt scared, but I was going to eat my meal, fear or no.
I’ve faced a lot of things in my life that terrified me. I’m a girl, alone in this cold hard world with no protection other than my own wits and strength. I’m a warrior. I’ve paid my dues to be who I am and to know what I know.
As I sat in the terminal, waiting to board, I thought that just maybe I’d seen my son for the last time. I thought about him and what my final message to him would be, if I ever got the chance. This is what I came up with:
Be brave. Make fear your bitch, and make wisdom your master. Never get these twisted.
Always seek to understand; the world, circumstances, others, and more importantly, yourself.
Be honest; with others, but more importantly, with yourself.
Do what is right, regardless of what everyone else is doing; don’t jump into the mud with the pigs.
Never make the mistake of thinking you are perfect; be humble, or be humbled.
Be quick to admit your mistakes and correct them.
Find your own purpose and live for it, not for the approval of others.
There is good to be found in everything. Look for it. Beauty is everywhere. Be observant.
You are always right where you are meant to be. Embrace and master every circumstance you find yourself in. Learn to live in the balance between clinging and pushing away. Live with intention and detachment.
Believe in God. He is real. Do not believe what other people tell you about what God wants of you. Seek Him for yourself and don’t be afraid of what you might find. Be brave and listen. There is a Holy Spirit and if you can tap into it, you can march through the fires of hell and not be destroyed. Listen. Your body may be harmed, but your spirit will be unbreakable, and every trap set out to harm you will only work to make you stronger.
Trust in God.
Get to know God.
I love you. With all my heart and with all my soul I love you. I always have, and I always will. There is nothing that can ever change or diminish my love for you; absolutely nothing.
I’m writing this now so indeed I survived my first plane-ride. I’m hoping to live long enough to teach my son all these things myself. I want to live long enough to be certain he fully understands.
Flying in an airplane turned out to be pretty interesting. I especially loved the takeoff and the landing. The middle was actually quite boring and cramped. At least in a car you can pull over and stretch your legs. Hours of clouds gets pretty monotonous and you really can’t make out anything on the ground. What I thought were cars might have actually been buildings, or maybe even city blocks. I have no idea. It didn’t even feel like we were moving, even though the little flight navigator said we were going five hundred miles per hour. It felt like we were in a big ship, in a slow-motion crawl along a calm sea of foamy clouds. Some turbulence might have actually livened things up a bit.
I sat in a window seat. The plane was a lot smaller than I expected and my row mates were practically in my lap. More than one person farted during the flight and various human odours constantly permeated the stale pressurized air. It was pretty neat watching the truck with the robotic arm spraying the wing with de-icing solution. I kept thinking the plane was about to lift off as it taxied towards the runway, when it finally fired up it was unmistakable. No turning back. As it lifted, I imagined it swiftly plummeting back into the earth in a fiery crash and for some reason, it made me giggle. I’d made my choice, this was my meal and I was going to enjoy it; every last minute of it. Another random thought sent me into gales of laughter as I watched the ground fall away and we were air bound. If we were going down, I was apparently going with a grin.
I’m grateful for the experience and I’m still having a wonderful time. My fear is in pocket, and as for the flight home, well, bring it on, come what may.