Sunday, November 2, 2014

Air Bumps

As I mentioned in my last post (, I mentioned a that my greatest fear is falling from heights.  Note, I'm not afraid of heights rather falling from them.  I have been in many very high places without any problems: the Space Needle in Seattle, the Astoria Column in Astoria (which is probably more frightening by the way), etc.  My greatest fear is that I'll be visiting somewhere like the Grand Canyon, take one bad step and be pummeled to a pulp by the rocks below.  One of my greatest loves in life is flight.  I've always been absolutely fascinated with flight.  I've been to numerous air shows, seen both the Thunderbirds and Blue Angels several times, and visited several air museums.  I love airplanes.  I loved watching planes takeoff and land while waiting to embark on my journey.  In fact one hobby that I play with from time to time is Flight Simulator.  I've spent many hundreds of hours flying virtual aircraft: gliders, small cessnas, 747s, and fighter jets.  I've flown all across the US and internationally.  In order to learn how to fly these aircraft (properly:)), I had to read a lot of material and practice the laws of physics with the virtual aircraft.  I wouldn't say that I have a deep understanding as to the physics which keep airplanes in the air, but I understand the basics and what must happen to stop the aircraft from falling out of the sky.

Having said all of that, I wanted to share a story from one of my flights during my trip this last summer.  I was originally going to share this only because it was kind of a funny story, but I was thinking about my experience one night last week.  At this time I thought of something I thought was kind of profound and applicable to our day.  On my way to Baltimore, I had a connecting flight in Philadelphia.  I had a couple hours to kill in Philadelphia, and for some reason I was filled with a bit of sense of dread over another flight.  It probably had something to do with the fact that I heard of a storm moving into the area.  As I boarded the plane, I could see the storm moving in.  As we took off, we made a turn, and ascended right into a huge black cloud.  As we started moving through the cloud, the plane started shaking and banking left and right.  It was a bit uncomfortable.  Suddenly, I was hit with the sudden feeling that the plane was no longer ascending, rather it felt as though it fell ~10 feet.  It was a bit unsettling, but nothing too bad.  Then it happened again.  Once we started ascending for the third time, we hit another dip.  This one lasted about 10 minutes, and we plummeted over 1000 feet, at least that's how it felt.  This one jarred me a bit, and I nearly took the armrests with me as souvenirs.  During this particular drop there was an audible gasp from the other passengers, particularly the one seated next to me.  I looked at her, and I thought she was about to have a heart attack.  After this drop, the rest of the flight wasn't too bad, but it was quite bumpy the rest of the way.

It was quite an intriguing thing for me the first time I thought about the thrill for me of flying 30000+ feet in the air coupled with my fear of falling from heights.  I was kind of scared witless at this flight when the fear overtook me.  As I looked back at this experience last week, I thought about this dichotomy.  Here I was with my love of flight, my experience in flying aircraft virtual as they may be, and all of the reading into flight dynamics which I've done, freaked out because of one fear.  In my mind,  I should know that the plane wouldn't just fall out of the sky.  Yes it is uncomfortable, but in reality it's really nothing more than a speed bump in flight.  I think that sometimes we take things in the Gospel the same way.  We have all this knowledge, experience, and testimonies about Gospel doctrines, yet we allow fears of the unknown completely unsettle us and rock us from what we already know.  The adversary know each of us and what can unsettle us.  He focuses on these weak points to attack us.  I know in my life I let that happen way more than it should, but as I've tried to remain faithful to what I do know and have faith in the Lord, He never lets me down.  He always brings me through those speed bumps.

As it turns out, the lady I was sitting next to was from Los Angeles and it was her first time flying as well.  I personally try not to wear my emotions on my sleeve, and I felt that all things considered, I kept my cool throughout these bumps.  As we talked about it being our first flights.  I could see how nervous she had been, and it certainly helped me feel much better about the rest of the flight when I knew she was in the same position.  I don't know for sure, but she did seem to calm down too.  I also think that is quite applicable to life.  Sometimes all it really takes is a good friend who has been through the same or similar situation to help calm us down as we go through these speed bumps of life.