Thursday, June 29, 2017

"Cloud Anxiety"

It's official! I'm a little freaked out by flying!!! It's really quite ridiculous! I mean, I'm not "scared" of anything, but evidently being "fearful" is not the same as being "scared". Tina & I flew to Philly, PA, some time ago, and I didn't do too well at all on the flying part! The people, the city, the cuisine, were all incredible! But the flying, not so much! I really don't know exactly what it was. I've heard all the "one in kazillion" chance of crashing talk and all, AND, how it's sooooo much safer than car travel, but least, in many auto accidents, you have a chance of walking away with minor injuries. When you fly into a mountain, or the ground, at 500 + miles an hour, there's not much of a chance of ANYTHING walking away, or being recognizable for that matter.
And the weird thing about it, is that the actual "flight" experience is pretty cool. So, WHAT is it that freaked me out??? Was it the fact that I hadn't flown in several years, and forgot what it was like? Was it the possibility that I might have to sit by a human being of gargantuan proportions that smelled like sour pickle relish?
Or, was it that the obnoxious and insincere "sweetness" of some of those female flight attendants just really felt so shallow and patronizing?
I don't think it was any of those! I think my "high anxiety" was fueled by the reality that I WAS NOT IN CONTROL OF MY ENVIRONMENT, SAFETY, OR THE POTENTIAL OUTCOME OF THE JOURNEY! As soon as we began "taxi-ing" down the runway and picking up speed, and then lifting into the sky, I felt this sense of, "OH !!##&$#, now I have to completely trust those dudes in the cockpit with my life!!!" Even my precious wife holding my hand gently, like a sympathetic pre-school teacher holding the hand of an unsettled child was not quite enough to "quell" my high anxiety! So once we were airborne at a cruising altitude of over 30,000 feet, I began to ponder my plight, and my "flight fright". I reflected (albeit, still in a nervous state of mind) on how my journey over the last 10 years had, at many times, felt alot like what I was experiencing now. Looking out the window, I saw nothing but clouds, CLOUDS EVERYWHERE!!! No clarity whatsoever! I had to trust that someone much more skilled than I knew exactly what was happenin' beyond those clouds, and in that cockpit! I had to trust in something outside of myself! Scary! I even commented to Tina that I might feel somewhat eased IF I could be riding in the cockpit, and at least SEE what was goin on in there. But seeing nothing but clouds, and having to "rest" and trust in someone other than ME?! NO FREAKIN' WAY!!!!
But, that is the place that I have learned to live. Wait, I meant to say......the place I'm LEARNING to live! People who trust only in their intellect, their knowledge and skills, or their power of logic--their ability to "mentally ascend" to a place of answers or "certainty"--must be some of the most frustrated, cynical people on the planet. It must wear them out to feel the constant need to play "god", and orchestrate their entire existence. Faith is just plain ridiculous to many of them! Or, they may just fall into this sort of "fatalistic" mentality, where everything happens purely by chance or happenstance! They think we are all simply living at the "mercies" of karma and the cosmos. Faith CAN be a "spooky" prospect! But in my experience, the "spooky" part usually subsides as Love Himself takes the hand of whatever faith I can "mustard", I mean muster up. (See what I did there....mustard seed???.....clever, huh?)
Life is one big cloud! Occasionally, you get glimpses of blue sky, but most of our "tomorrows" can live in a "cloud shroud". I'm learning that my faith in Love Himself is strengthened in the clouds. Through a frustrating, and painful process, I am watching my fear of the clouds be replaced with a simple faith in the Love that walks with me and holds me. Ironically, I'm experiencing more freedom now in the clouds. It's a freedom that allows me to live life in each cloudy moment with an expectancy, a vibrant awareness, and a quiet trust that the "ultimate, crash proof" pilot is in total control, and my destination is guaranteed.
My logic, my knowledge, my "intellectual enlightenment" fall dreadfully short when it comes to helping me find peace in the clouds. Only my ongoing, growing relationship with Love Himself is providing a peace that absolutely transcends my understanding.
You know, the older I get, many of the answers I've thought I had--the ones I've been so proud to tout and boast about--have been replaced with more questions. My experiences with people have led me to think that those who are rigid, even adamant in their "beliefs" and opinions, are usually the ones who are no longer on a journey. Their fear and pride have caused them to close their hearts, and believe by "rote" or tainted perspective, outside the amazing experiences of a living, growing relationship with Love Himself! That's sad to me!
Love Himself is not insecure. My questions are completely safe with Him, not a threat to Him. And as I continue my journey through the clouds, answers seem to unfold, not out of my ability to comprehend logic, firm answers, and earthly knowledge, but rather, out of my connection with THE ANSWER, Love Himself. And you know what? Now I'm starting to see my line of questions trending away from the fearful promptings of my emotions, and desire to control my existence. Now, my questions seem to arise from a heart that just wants to know more about this Love, His heart, and His ways, and, how I can share this incredible relational journey with others who may be feeling "freaked out" in the clouds! Now, recline your seat, enjoy a complimentary beverage or some trail mix, look out the window, breathe deeply, and relax! Love Himself is in the cockpit. He knows the way....even when it's cloudy. Enjoy the journey!

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