Thursday, February 16, 2012

Landing Safely

Landing Safely  

     If finding meaning in life is in recognizing our moments, than the fruition of such are born out of the grand conception of timing.

     It’s all in the timing, bad or good. One action leads and follows another. A deliberate action of origin pulls a trigger, another movement, completes destination. Then there are all the ticks and tocks in between. The elements of timing predetermine catastrophe or cooperation—cacophony or symphony.

     On a jet, out on a tarmac at LaGuardia Airport, we wait in line for takeoff.  Rob has allowed me the window seat. I calm myself, praying Rosary beads. I’m not a huge fan of flying.  I don’t know, a heavy metal container lifting off into the wild blue yonder, just blows up in my imagination that if something goes wrong, (a technical or mechanical mishap) than it probably will end up going really wrong.

     I count my prayers and all the reasons that our plane won’t crash. My kids at home, other passenger’s kids, stewardesses who fly all the time, and the millions of take-offs and landings at airports worldwide successfully meeting departures and arrivals.

     I depend on the education and skill of two pilots, service oriented flight attendants, mechanics, and luggage handlers. Even the bundled guy in the parka waving cautionary flares has a say in flying the friendly skies. They’re all enabled by an understanding of gravity and the power it takes to get this thing off the ground.  The physics of flight travel soar upon the wings of real birds. Their skeletal architecture first borrowed by the Wright Brothers who made history in North Carolina, also where we will return to our nest, safely twigged in a tree house setting in the Smoky Mountains.

     Sliding up the shade, I have a bird’s eye view in reckoning with reality with the landing strip. A light (much like a star), although low in the atmosphere, nears us. It seems to be aiming straight for my vantage point.  The sky is a February dismal gray, so the piercing lights seek through as safety fog lamps. The wings teeter a bit and more lights emerge side by side of the brightest. I watch as it flies just yards above water and lands as planned—ejected tires catching its fall—rubber meeting the road—wheeling fast. Rolling slowing, the plane steers towards its terminal and disappears out of sight along with the Brooklyn Bridge, the Empire State Building and the tiny Manhattan sparrow perched outside our hotel’s metro coffee shop. St. Patrick’s Cathedral will also be there next year, providing sanctuary from the grueling cement jungle we endure, that not even gel insoles, console. We play nice in the sandbox, networking and selling toys and games at the International Toy Fair, held at the Javits’ Center near the Hudson River in NYC.

     The pilots watch at an intersection, like a taxi driver waiting for a green light. We roll forward as another star grows bright and approaches the run way.

     One after the other—I see one star hovering in line behind the closer Delta—trusting to follow suit. I remember myself in a similar container, about the same time the week before, “We’re flying over water! Very close, over it!” All the while, I’m gripping my husband’s arm as he grins at me reassuringly.

     Adjacent to us, a jet patiently waits for the arriving plane to land and crosses thirty seconds later accelerates quickly forward and launches into the sky. Another plane star illuminates the run way again, soon after that.

     I’m astonished at the timing of it all—the expertise—the team player synchronicity. I imagine the air traffic controller with his feet propped up on the desk and coffee mug half-full, it’s surface rippling with vibration of propelling engines—as he or she over sees radar communication.  

     The pilot is confident over the intercom about the weather in Atlanta, the mild foreseen turbulence of our air path. He advises us to mind our seat belts and enjoy the ride.

     I continue my prayers and reflect on how we fly every day, on tattered yet capable pinions—flapping in time with the moments of our days, riding on currents we can’t control.

     As I watch planes land and wheel to gangway, I’m struck with all the souls going about their business—sensible and not so much. God knows what we will do when we arrive and the mistakes we will make. Some of them grave and undoable, harming others and ourselves. Some incidents of the heart and mind, are influential. He allows all to land safely—giving us all the opportunity to make choices for good, decisions of repentance – conversions of heart. He desires that all world know the hope of his calling- even at the expense of those we hurt and those who hurt us. We are just passengers, carried within the shadow of his wings.

Psalm 31:15: My times are in your hands…

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