It has been a hot minute since I’ve posted anything. I hate that! I apologize! We have been traveling so much lately. It really has been crazy, but such a blast! Anyway, that is part of the reason I’ve been so behind on blogging. I’m back now though, with a lovely little post on fear for you.
Just a little light reading, right?
So, speaking of travel, in the past two months or so (give or take), I think we have been on ten flights. If you know me, you know that I have an intense fear of flying (also filed under intense fears: elevator rides. I know. It’s weird.). Every time I prepare for a flight, I experience extreme anxiety. Sometimes I am fine on the plane once it takes off, and sometimes I am not. I have cried, my heart rate has soared, I have panicked and imagined every possible bad scenario, and I have prayed for my life. It really depends on the flight and the state of my mind (and if I have had a glass of wine or not! I wish I was joking…).
In the midst of all my panic and worry, though, I have found something interesting. I have experienced some of my worst anxiety and fear during flight, but you know what? Oddly enough, I have also experienced absolute stillness and calm during flight in a way I haven’t experienced it any other time. Sometimes, I find myself with teary eyes on a plane not from fear, but from thankfulness. There’s something that happens to you when you push through a fear of such magnitude. I believe it opens up a part of your heart.
When I was in college flying home to see my family, I would look down at all the lights below and know Dad was waiting for me at the airport. There’s still nothing like that feeling. It made me so emotional and still does. One time, I sat next to a Pilot and asked him a million questions about turbulence and flying an aircraft, and he comforted me and educated me. Another time I sat next to a man in the army. He told me about the life in Afghanistan and I told him I liked to sing. He listened to one of my songs and encouraged me to go after my dreams. Another time I was so nervous and visibly upset that a flight attendant slipped me a kids activity book with a comforting note even though he was supposed to be sitting down. I teared up at his thoughtfulness.
These are just little pockets of Grace, little pockets of hope in an unsuspected place. Funny how it works like that.
Some of the times I have been so filled up by people have been during the times that I’ve been so on the edge of anxiety and fear on the edge of taking me over. But then it doesn’t, light shines into the cracks of the darkness.
A couple of years ago, I went on a trip to Australia. If you weren’t aware, the flight from LA to Sydney is one of the longest you can take (clocking in somewhere around 15 hours). I told myself years ago that I would NEVER be able to get on a plane for that long. Somehow by the grace of God I was given the courage to do it, and I wrote in my journal at one point of the flight,
“I am currently somewhere above the ocean, thousands and thousands of miles from home, watching the sunrise through the window of the other side of the world. It’s peaceful and disorienting and I have no idea what time it or or what day it is, but I am grateful”.
And it captured beautifully how I felt. It was this feeling where I was so out of my comfort zone on this flight, somewhere over the middle of the ocean in an unknown part of the world thousands of miles from home, and finding contentment in my fear. Finding joy in my moment. There’s nothing like it. There’s nothing like that kind of sunrise, either, and you can’t see it with your feet on the ground.
Sometimes to see the beauty, you have to climb up the uncertain and the scary first.
In the words of Ben Rector:
“I learned to dance with the fear that I’d been running from.”
(Song titled “Fear” off his latest record).
It’s a beautiful thing, this thing called Grace.