I am safely back in my home after an exhilarating trip to sunny Florida. The five stones God gave me to conquer the plane rides actually – gasp – worked! First, a brief summary of how those worked, and then on to the good stuff!
- Prayer. I could feel the prayers of my bloggy friends as the tension mounted. Every single time my heart began to race into panic mode, I felt a blanket of comforting peace envelope me, and I was able to relax. I know that calming did not come anywhere from me. It came from your prayers lifting and encouraging me. Thank you!
- Rescue Remedy. I don’t know how this homeopathic remedy works, but it works. I only used half the suggested number of drops, and I felt an almost immediate effect. Yes, it does contain some alcohol, but I seriously doubt the alcohol is what makes it effective because the dose is so small and the relief is almost immediate. My husband was so impressed with the way I handled this flight compared with previous ones (the flights where I was so paralyzed with fear that I could do nothing but grasp my book with a death grip and read and re-read the same sentences over and over) that he tried the drops before giving a speech at work. Guess what? His mind relaxed. That’s what I experienced as well. Although I was still nervous on the flights, my mind was relaxed. It made a big difference.
- Dramamine. I don’t fly without it.
- God’s Word. I don’t go anywhere without this in my heart. God’s Word ALWAYS wins in any debate inside my head. So when I’m in the air and I hear a loud THUMP and my mind zooms to horrible “what-if” scenarios, my heart recites “Your Love, oh Lord, is higher than the heavens.” So take THAT, Goliath! I did take out my Bible before takeoff on both plane trips and focused on Psalm 36.
- Music. I listened to Casting Crowns, Third Day, and my new favorite band, Monk and Neagle:
I must admit that the music served mainly as background noise as I pre-read two fabulous books for my daughter which you can see here and here. The books took my mind off the fact that I was soaring 39,000 feet above the surface of the earth and transported me to other times and places.
Now for the good stuff.
Speaking of soaring 39,000 feet above the earth, imagine being on one of these:
We watched this last night launch from bleachers stationed at the Saturn V building, which is three miles away from the launch pad. The first impression I had was that the light so bright I couldn’t keep my eyes focused on it. Looking back now, I am reminded of the time Jesus was transfigured. If something man-made like these rocket boosters produce light nearly as intense (to my eyes) as the sun…just imagine how bright the face of our Lord is! You know, the disciples and people living back in Old Testament days had no experience with bright light such as the light produced by a shuttle launch. No WONDER they dropped to the ground and hid their eyes in the Lord’s presence.
The second impression I had was an awareness of extreme heat. I felt waves of heat touch my face during lift-off. It wasn’t uncomfortable at all but felt warm on my chilly cheeks! It makes me think that one day, when we see the face of Jesus, there will be no more cold hands and feet. This is a comfort to someone with Raynaud’s whose hands turn white and painful when the temperature dips below 70 degrees!
Next, I was aware of the ground shaking. I glanced down and saw my shirt fluttering back and forth. The earth was definitely moving under my feet. If you’ve ever been to a concert and felt the beat pound in your chest, then you understand the sensation. I’ve never experienced an earthquake, but this might be close!
The last thing we experienced was the sound. It was actually not as ear-splitting as I had anticipated, but it was definitely up there in the decibel levels. Looking back, it makes me wonder if God’s voice, when we hear him in-the-flesh, will be as booming as the sound coming from the launch pad.
After we stood and watched in awe until the shuttle’s light grew as distant as a star, we headed back to the buses that stood waiting to take us back to the Kennedy Space Center’s visitor center.
One of the reasons I love Florida so much is that it is so alive. Everywhere I looked I saw life not just getting by, but flourishing, with relish. My in-laws have a big porch that wraps around their house from which they feed a colony of six feral cats. About a year ago they trapped the cats and had them spayed and neutered, and now they freely roam the area….but like clockwork, they come for a visit in the early morning and late evening hours. Only thing is, my in-laws quickly discovered that other wild varmints enjoy partaking in the culinary enjoyment of cat food…such as raccoons and possums.
These little guys didn’t like sharing and got in a scuffle over who eats out of whose dish. There we sat, not ten feet away from the critters with nothing but an OPEN French door between us. They didn’t venture inside, and we stayed (safely) on the couch. Just a few minutes after we snapped this photo, they got in another scuffle which knocked the dishes down the stairs. Since the cat food was mixed with milk, the mess dribbled all down the stairs, and that meant dinner time was over. My mother-in-law shooed them away and cleaned up the stairs.
I forgot to get a photo of a plant that was growing out of one of the eaves of their home. It had literally germinated in a tiny bit of soil and dust that must have accumulated in a crack and was vigorously healthy. I’ve seen plants grow in the grooves of streets around north Texas, but I haven’t yet seen them grow out of the eaves of houses.
Of course we went to the beach. We went before the cold front brought chilly weather and were actually able to enjoy the water. It wasn’t too cold for us or for the birds.
As I stuck my feet in the warm sand and listened to the roar of the waves, I had to stop and thank God for bringing such beauty to the world He created. What a privilege it was to enjoy it with him for just a moment.
And for that realization, those anxiety-ridden plane rides were worth it.