It was a long flight from St. Louis to San Francisco. For me it was not just a question of the four-plus hours of travel but also managing the fear I have of flying and the constant anticipation of turbulence.
Seated next to me was a minister from rural Kentucky, Reverend Silas Wildes, both a southern gentleman and a man of God, who was headed to an evangelical conference in the San Francisco Bay area. Quickly discovering our common bond, we passed most of the time sharing about Gods’ daily providential care for us, the unwavering faith that we need to permeate our life, and the call to deepen our relationship with Jesus beyond the laws of our particular religious affiliations. Although we revealed pieces of our heart, I kept my fear of flying to myself.
Breathing with relief at the relatively smooth flight and checking my watch for the time left until we landed, I cringed when I heard the pilot’s voice. In a somber tone he asked the flight attendants to take their seats and the passengers to fasten their seat belts. He added that the control tower had indicated a “very bumpy” descent. In reality, I knew that really meant significant turbulence. My heart began to pound and sweat rolled down my face. Reverend Wildes just gazed peacefully out the window as the roller coaster ride began.
After about ten minutes of choppiness, Reverend Wildes leaned over and whispered, “Well, I see the water and wonder if we are landing just a bit too close to it because I can see fish jumping and splashing.” Panicked, I reached under my seat to check for my life vest and then, boldy and humbly, asked the reverend if I might hold his hand.
With a gentle smile and elegant courtesy, he extended his hand and then asked me a question I have never forgotten; “Sister, you seem to be living with so much unfaltering faith on the ground. Why then do you lose it when you are up in the air?”
Owning the Story, Opening to Grace
When my life seems up in the air, I can strengthen my faith by…
The times I need the outstretched, comforting hand of another are…
I can renew my trust during turbulent times by …
“But when Peter noticed the strong wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out: Lord, save me! Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, You of little faith, why did you doubt?” Matt: 14:30-31
Excerpt from Doors to the Sacred: Everyday Events as Hints of the Holy by Sr. Bridget Haase; Paraclete Press