Rocking at 40,000ft…

I hate turbulence. “no duh”, right? No, I really, really hate turbulence. My stress level shoots through the roof just at the thought of it. It is the most unnerving thing I have ever experienced. Coming back from my business trip to Florida a couple days ago, we had what pilots would call

some mild bumps. For me, however, they were armrest gripping, white-knuckle toss fests. The kind where it feels like someone is taking a sledgehammer to the side of the plane. Iย  would look at people to try to see their reaction, hoping it would help me relax, and all I could think about wasย  “didn’t you feel that?!?!?”

Oddly enough, I live in earthquake country, and love it. We just had a couple 4.x rumblers that shook the building I was in pretty good, and I just kept working. I’ve been in others where I was on the couch, watching TV, the house started moving, and I just sat there and rolled with it. People think I’m strange (well, maybe I am ๐Ÿ™‚ ), but I’ll take an earthquake over a hurricane or tornado any day.

Both rock and rumble, one gives me heart attack, the other a little positive buzz. Crazy, right?

I think one of the things that freaks me out so much about the turbulence is that I am so totally out of control in that situation. Growing up, I was surrounded by earthquake knowledge, because my mom worked at the US Geological Survey. I saw maps with faultlines, and visited the Survey many times to see all the earthquake monitoring equipment. I find it all pretty fascinating. Over the past year, when the Ring of Fire was having all of the major quakes that never seemed to end, I kept thinking back on those that I know in the Survey, and wondering what they had uncovered to explain it all.

On the other hand, I have no idea of how planes work. I’m fascinated that those multi-ton pieces of machinery can stay in the air as it is. Plus, the driver of that big metal bird is like the Wizard of Oz… locked away behind some door, every now and again piping his wizard voice over the passengers, telling us to buckle up cuz it’s gonna be a bumpy ride. When I want to hearย a comforting word from the Wiz, what do I get? “No way, no how”…

So, I grab armrests, and windows, and seats and anything else I can. Anything that will tell me I am controlling my situation (yes, I know it makes no sense… I’m 40,000 ft in the air… what kind of control can I really have?). At least I am doing something. You gotta give me that, right?

I was thinking (of course, since Kid Stuph is about Life, Love and Wisdom), about how many other situations I encounter where I employ the same tactic. When life itself is out of control, what I grab onto. How I lash out at others who “didn’t feel that”. How I try to control the uncontrollable. Why can’t I just trust the Driver of the big bird of life?

A friend of mine just recounted a wonderful story of how she has been trusting God for a job and finances and stuph, when nothing was coming through, and the prospects were less than slim. Even when what seemed to be empty promises were given, she stayed steadfast in her trust (ok, yes, she did have to battle doubt, but who doesn’t?). Long story short, there was a series of events, of contacts, of conversations that all led up to a job, that hadn’t even been created yet, being presented to her. How awesome is that? She can trace all of it, including the bumps in-between to being one path for her. She wasn’t in control, but controlled her responses and ended up where she was supposed to be. Not only that, but her situation built our faith to be able to trust God more in uncontrollable situations.

On my business trip, I got thrown another curveball, more turbulence that I had to reconcile. I could have tried to white-knuckle it, but instead am choosing to trust that the Wiz really does know how to take this bucket of bolts through the turbulence, knows when it is best to go straight through or whenย  to turn to dodge it.

Doesn’t mean I will ever like turbulence, and if you’re sitting next to me on a plane, I may look at you crazy when it happens. Inside, though, I will be telling myself, “trust the Wizard… he’s trying to get to the same place you are”

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8 thoughts on “Rocking at 40,000ft…

  1. I love your train of thoughts throughout this post, Kenneth, and its message even more. It truly is difficult at times to simply trust the Wizard, no questions asked, no doubt, no armrest grabbing…
    *picture me holding your hand while you’re looking at me as if I were crazy for being calm through turbulence*

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    1. Hi Estrella,
      If I could bottle that trust in the Wizard without doubt and sell it, I’d be a rich man (actually, if I could, I’d probably just give it away to everyone I could… that would be real riches ๐Ÿ™‚ ).

      I’m picturing you right now… thanks for bringing calm into my life

      *holding your hand, but not squeezing too tight* ๐Ÿ™‚

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  2. Right there with you on wondering how a multi-ton machine can stay aloft, and I try to take “should I freak out” cues from other passengers, too. LOL

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  3. “Didn’t you feel that?” made me laugh. I can SO here you saying that. Love this post, even if it’s more of a universe thing for me. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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  4. i totally sympathize with you on this. turbulence really freaks me out. as i get older, i find myself experiencing anxiety in situations in which i was previously calm. it’s very unnerving! stay strong, though… traveling is worth the stress! ๐Ÿ™‚

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    1. I am so learning that Meredith, especially with my recent trip to China (3 + hours of turbulence on the way back… I think I lost track after that). What I learned and experienced on the trip was so wonderful, I can’t wait to go back, even if I have to deal with the bumps (still hate it, but I can deal with it ๐Ÿ™‚ )

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