In February I felt safe.
I woke up early one morning, got a soy latte with a mangled Starbucks version of my name on it, and boarded a plane. I was deliciously alone, playing hooky from my 3 kids, on my way to a Girls Weekend with my mom and sister in San Francisco.
I leaned back smiling, looked out the window, and felt deeply content. And because I can’t leave well enough alone, I tried to figure out why.
I let a fear montage of 9/11 and “Air Force One” clips go through my mind. I countered with some clips from “Airplane!” I thought of my poor husband and frantic kids trying to find shoes and library books before school. I remembered I would be back reporting for duty soon enough.
I was flying. At O’Hare I walked down a tunnel, sat down, put on a fat seatbelt, and then climbed into the sky. I was being held in the air, above the clouds. Past where the birds go. Thousands of feet above houses and cars, above marriages and parking tickets. Prairie farmlands tidy far below.
It felt so wonderful to sit. I didn’t need to decide or do anything. I wasn’t going to be asked to drive the plane or give directions.
I realized I was trusting. I was trusting strangers. Strangers built, fixed and maintained the plane. Strangers cleaned and loaded the plane. Strangers were flying and guiding the plane. I didn’t know any of their names, what their fears and motivations were, and I put my life in their hands.
And all at once I saw my Faith. As a skeptical, cynical, bruised believer, Faith is very difficult for me. The mystery and surrender. I believed I was going to get from Chicago to San Francisco that morning. I assumed I would land unharmed and see my mom smiling at the airport. A metal tube was going to defy gravity and carry thousands of pounds thousands of miles thousands of feet above the hard ground. I had no control over what happened on that plane.
It was just a domestic flight. It wasn’t like I was on the first flight to Saturn. I’ve flown hundreds of times. The numbers were in my favor. Experience said everything would be fine.
In fact, my husband had safety flown to and from Atlanta the day before. He interviewed for a new job for 7 hours and came home exhausted and happy. I sat on the edge of the bed in my pajamas while he took of his dress shoes and tie and told me how well it went. We looked at each other a long time when I asked, “what if they offer you the job?”
I let my forehead rest on the window and looked at the windswept brown Colorado ground. What if Chris takes that job? What if we leave Chicago after 19 years? What will the kids do? What about the Bluebird? What about our friends? Questions floated past quickly like the thin clouds outside.
The plane started its descent, and the brown ground starting greening as we got closer to the ocean. I was more content than when we had taken off. If I could trust strangers with my life high in the sky maybe I could learn to trust God? Maybe I’m actually walking in Faith every day more than I realize? Maybe even if we moved everything would be okay? Maybe I am held tight by a loving God?
An hour after landing Chris called. He got the job.
I will be unfolding this story and the idea of Surrender throughout the month of October.
To read more about our shared spiritual journey and questions, you can read here: Soul.
You are loved.
© Aimee Fritz and Family Compassion Focus, 2015.